For the Winter Blues: Why we need Winter.

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Winter Flower

It’s that time of year again when winter seems to be grinding on my heart.

We are all too familiar with the cold weather, the long commute home and the barren landscape. It starts to darken our emotions. After months and months of this (I live in Colorado), I find myself continuing to fight it.

We don’t want the winter blues. We just want spring. Am I right?

The other day, I decided to go to a yin yoga class. While I do yoga on a regular basis, I rarely take the time to go to a yin class. For those of you less familiar with yoga, yin yoga is a slower paced class that focuses on holding poses for longer periods of time. It’s often considered a restorative class. Admittedly, though I try to reap the benefits of yoga in many different ways, physical challenge is usually part of the appeal for me.

So going into the yin class, I was cocky, expecting it to be too easy.

During the class, I noticed that I was beginning each pose with an aggressive attitude. I would go deep into a pose thinking that I was there to conquer it. Then, about three minutes into each pose, it would hit me over and over again how painful it can be to slow down, do something seemingly simple and stay there.

My body would start to fight the pose. I would want to fidget, adjust my posture or get out. I was genuinely very uncomfortable.

Finally, about halfway through the class, I decided to try something different. I started to listen to the instructor and to actually act on what she was guiding me through. I surrendered. Not suddenly but, rather, one breathe at a time. I gave in to the pain and sunk deeper into the discomfort.   

At the end of the class, I was completely wrung out, both physically and mentally. And guess what? It was fantastic.

On my way home, I couldn’t help but see some parallels between this class and the emotions we have toward winter. You see, winter is a not-so-gentle indicator that we need to spend more time inward. Just like the yin class, we have to go there, and we have to stay awhile. We need to brave discomfort to ultimately come out on the other end.  

What if winter serves to point out the hidden, painful spaces within us, refusing to let us hide and neglect them? Winter is a season where everything is stripped to its bare bones. Nature is exposed and so are we. It’s painful and uncomfortable, but it’s also beautiful. It allows us to shine light into dark spaces. It allows us to be reborn into spring.

~

in the dead of winter

be still

embrace simple

desolate

raw

living

feel your soul shy away

from the harshness

pause

now, go deeper

don’t just stare it down

jump inside of it

bathe in the feelings of discomfort, of boredom 

feel the gentle pulse that lives within those moments 

they are calling for your participation 

they aren’t happening to you 

they are you

they hang between each of your heartbeats

be present 

send love to all that surrounds you

know that it is also within you

choose to love all that you are

can you feel it?

through winter, comes spring

it is rebirth 

it is pure joy

it is raw

~

Author: Kelli Fischer

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Flickr

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Kelli Fischer

Kelli Fischer is a young professional gone soul searching. A Colorado native, environmentalist, math nerd, novice yogi and lover of all animals, good books and cinnamon rolls. You can connect with her on Instagram (@kellifisch) or via email ([email protected]).

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anonymous Dec 17, 2015 6:50am

Great post Kelli, I love how you’ve drawn parallels between the Yin Yoga and the ‘hunkering down and getting on with it’ mentality that gives us Winter blues battling strength. I’m Googling Yin Yoga Classes Oxford as we speak! Nice poem to finish with too, is this one of your own creations? Merry Christmas, Jennie x