Elevate Your Health
As a yin yoga teacher and owner of Aspen Elevated Health, one of my passions in life is to share insights and tools for self-empowerment, healing, and mindfulness. I think we can all agree that this year brought to light just how incredibly important it is to empower ourselves with such tools. With so much uncertainty, and the suddenly altered pace of life we have collectively experienced this past year, many of us are entering the Winter and the holiday season with nervous systems that are a bit more stressed than in previous years.
Winter is a Time to Slow Down and Go Inward
With the cold, dark days and the inherent isolation that Winter offers us, it can be the most difficult season of all to embrace. According to Chinese medicine, we create harmony within our bodies when we adapt and flow with the seasonal shifts and changes in our environment. Winter represents the most Yin aspects of Chinese Medicine; darkness, cold, state of potential, surrender, receptivity, reflection, slow, inward energy, lunar energy. The quiet and stillness of winter allows us to hear more of the world, and it forces us to slow down, embrace restoration, and store and conserve energy, so that we can open up to our full potential and rebirth come Spring time.
One gift that I believe 2020 has bestowed upon us is that it has forced us, as a collective, to embrace these qualities of yin. But this can feel uncomfortable for many. Our nervous systems are not attuned to a yin-like frequency. We are so used to the “go, go, go” mentality, which in Chinese Medicine, relates to the qualities of yang. So, as we collectively shift to a more yin like life, are you able to go inward and feel into your body? When we start to raise our vibration and shift our energy field, we invite infinite possibilities for healing to occur.
Attune to a Yin Like Frequency
Below are a few ways that we can begin to attune to a yin like frequency to live more deeply in harmony with nature, and to create resiliency in our nervous systems so that we can tap into the magic that abounds during this time of year.
1- Go within: I encourage you to grab a piece of paper and a pen. Close your eyes and bring awareness to your breath. Feel your feet on the ground and feel the earth’s energy pushing up into the soles of your feet. Can you feel into your body and notice where you may have felt tension as you were reading these last few sentences about embracing more yin like practices? Where are you noticing ease and flow in your system? Can you feel that as our external world has become contracted, it has allowed for our inner world to expand? Where are you noticing expansion in your body right now? How can you embody this feeling of expansion in your external world? In what areas of your life have you experienced qualities of expansion lately? Take the next 10-30 mins to free flow journal (or another form of expression) about these topics.
2- Walking meditation in nature: Consciously decide to go for a walk in nature, by yourself, without headphones on. Wear a scarf to protect your neck from the cold. Don’t plan your route and don’t engage with anyone. I know, it might feel awkward. Can you allow yourself to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of your environment? Try to be a passive observer. If you notice that you start to judge your surroundings, take a breath, tune into your heart and come back to passive observation. Try this for at least 10 mins. When you return home, sit quietly for a few minutes and observe how your physical, mental and emotional body feel.
3- Box Breathing: Try this breathing exercise that stimulates the vagus nerve and puts the body into a parasympathetic, or rest and digest state. Find a seated position with your feet grounded on the ground. Close your eyes and imagine a box. Allow your imagination to take form. Your box will look and feel different from someone else’s box. When you are ready to begin, take a deep breath in, imagining the breath moving up the side of the box, to the count of 4, 6 or 8 seconds, whichever feels most accessible to you in the moment. Find the ease and do not force the breath. When you get to the top of the inhale, hold the breath for 4, 6 or 8 seconds. This forms the top of the box. When you are ready to release, breathe out for the same length of time as your breath descends down the other side of the box. Once at the bottom, hold the breath for the same length of time, and repeat up the side of the box. Set a timer for an accessible amount of time. Once you start experiencing the benefits, your nervous system may start to crave this exercise and you can begin to set your timing for longer amounts of time, up to 15 mins.
These exercises will help you tune into the present moment, soothe your nervous system and balance your internal landscape. If you need assistance or would like to share your experience with us, please reach out and visit our website to learn more about the kinds of healing services we offer. The Team at Aspen Elevated Health would love to support you during this time. We wish you a beautiful transition into the Winter and Holiday Season.