Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter Blues

Cold grey cloudy days
Sadness may come to visit,
Breathe, embrace the guest.

Today I went to a yoga class at Whole Yoga (where I also teach ) taught by Carol Sullivan. She is an excellant teacher. The website is: She ended class by reading a quote about embracing the winter blues. I don't remember it exactly nor do I remember its author. What I got from it is the reminder that there is a balance between focusing on the positive and embracing what is. Although it is useful to look for silver linings in every cloud, it is as important to acknowledge the cloud. At this time of year it is easy to feel sad. There is less light and the sun is less available especailly when we have a stretch of extremely cold overcast days. I grew up in Syracuse, New York where it is cloudy most of the year and snows from October to April. I think that was at least partly why I felt so heavy and anxious much of my childhood. At this time of year it is especially important to get out into the sun when it is there, get plenty of rest, excercise and eat well. Mindfully bringing our attention to the feeling of being sad in winter allows us to accept the experience we are having. Give yourself a time to be quiet and warm. Breathe into the sadness and go beneath the story to how it feels in your body.
It might be a tightness in your heart or stomach or throat. You might feel tears behind your eyes. As you allow yourself to breathe into the sadness and say to yourself, "I am here for you." the sadness gradually turns into a sort of joy that comes from being with what is. If we stay with the sadness it is so healing to the part of us that didn't get the opportunity to be held in love regardless of what we were feeling. It is like reparenting ourselves with an attentive, supportive unconditionallly loving Mom. May you experience a balance between focusing on the light and embracing the darkness. It is winter's gift.

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