Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.
~ Andy Goldsworthy
My suggestions include down-to-earth yoga practice to restore harmony, rejuvenating self treatments, and exercise, along with nourishing meals in the form of a nourishing breakfast, and really delish veggie soup ideal for lunch or supper.
1) Practice more gentle and restorative yoga.
It’s always better to have a daily practice prescribed by a qualified yoga teacher. But if you don’t have a teacher you can try this sample practice. It’s a very good start.
This vinyasa sequence is often called cat-cow because of the movement it involves, although we use the Chakravakasana name instead, that means sunbird or moonbird. The movement refers to a mythical bird that is puffing up its chest. I like the image of a bird much better than a swayed back cow with its belly falling towards the floor. When you do the Chakravakasana, focus on expanding your chest cavity and keeping your spine (from the neck to the sacrum) as long as possible to maximize the effect.
- >>So now lie down on your back with your knees bent or legs straight.
- >>Take about 12 deep breaths; inhale and allow your chest to expand; exhale and contract your belly slightly.
- >>As you do this, make your inhalations as smooth and regular as possible, inhaling on the count of four, and exhaling on the count of four.
2) Apply warm oil either before or after taking a shower.
If you live in a dry climate, or your skin is naturally dry, you can apply the oil after you shower, and before you go to bed—just use a towel to wipe out the extras.
I usually mix two tablespoons each of coconut and sesame oil in a large container that I keep in my bathroom. I place the container in hot water for about three minutes before using the oil.
- >> First apply the oil from head to toe, using a tablespoon to pour it on your body.
- >> Using your fingertips, vigorously massage your head and scalp with small circular strokes, as if you are shampooing.
- >> Using your palms, and massage both the front and back of your neck with an up and down movement.
- >> When massaging your chest and stomach, use a gentle circular motion and a straight up-and-down motion over your breastbone.
- >> Vigorously massage your legs as you did your arms, using circular motions over your ankles and knees, and back-and-forth motions on the long parts of both arms and legs.
- >> Spend some extra time on your feet to get full benefit from this treatment.
3) Warm and nourishing quinoa breakfast
- ¼ cup of quinoa
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of raw almond butter (or any other raw nuts)
- 2 tablespoons of raw unsweetened cacao powder
- Spices, to taste (cayenne pepper, cinnamon)
To prepare, bring one cup of water to boil, then lower the heat and continue simmering over medium heat for 10 minutes. Mix with cacao powder, spices and berries.
4) Hot soup with root veggies
- 1 fennel
- 2 celery
- 1 potato
- 1 yam
- 2 carrots
- ½ carton of vegetable stock
- Garlic to taste
To prepare your hot lunch cut all the veggies, add vegetable stock and boil until soft. I use a pressure cooker that takes about ten minutes on high heat, followed by a quick pressure release.
5) Exercise some more
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym. A 20-minute walk after lunch will do magic! I really love the crisp and cold Colorado winter, and no matter what, I hike or walk every day for at least half hour to an hour. Getting outside instantly changes my mood and shifts my perspective with “vitamin D” and fresh air as a bonus side effect. With temperature in the single digits my new puppy, Rocky (an abundance of sunshine) and I are off for a nice hike. Don’t forget to bundle up. If it’s really cold, and you don’t feel like going out, try to hold the elbow plank and do a few push-ups (working next to the wall is a great alternative).
6) Plan something fun.
Dance around the house, read an uplifting book, or plan a day off! I eagerly await the winter months with snowflakes that blanket the earth of Colorado—it’s a hikers’ and skiers’ paradise! But I’m equally happy reading a good book by the fire.
I advocate playfulness intended to lighten our existential burden and promote what Joseph Campbell called “the rapture of being alive.” Dance, play, read fun books and enjoy the world around you.
Keep a good attitude and smile!
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger