In wild animals activity is often diminished during the winter months. This is a response to there being less available food, and life being harder during winter months. Hibernation is an extreme example, but even species that do not hibernate often exhibit changes in behavior during the winter. It has been argued that Seasonal Affective Disorder and slowing down during winter months has evolved as a kind of human hibernation. Food would very likely have been scarce during winter months for our ancestors, and ‘low level hibernating’ would help reduce calorie intake.
So where does that lead us in terms if yoga? We have had a quieter, slower, maybe lower phase… and now gently, like the plants beneath the soil we shall gradually be reborn. Slowly our energy levels will rise, we will want to move more and maybe laugh more too!
Yoga is not about forcing yourself to move when you want to rest, and its not about resting when you need to move. But it is about listening to your body and taking it at your body’s pace. Our bodies contain great wisdom that we can learn from, if only we’ll take the time to listen.
So the next time you take an urge to wrap up into a wee ball – do it, and the next time you want to spread your arms out wide to the sun – do it too! Try to hear what your body is asking for, and then indulge.
Here are 3 steps you can take in as many minutes to help
- Listen to your tummy: hungry? tired? in need of a cuddle? Lots of feelings are centered here, so be curious and see what you can find out
- Do what your tummy asks: it might be a hot water bottle, a massage or even a tickle
- Breath into your tummy and imagine a soft vibrant energy expanding through your body.
Nesse, Randolphe M; Williams, George C (1996). Why We Get Sick (First ed.). New York: Vintage Books. pp. 290.