But that's not the reason I love it.
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in terms of day light in the Northern Hemisphere of this planet Earth.
It's a turning point in terms of the season. It's the darkest before the dawn of a new year. Yes, I know, technically Dec. 31 is "new year's eve" but for me - the 21st is the beginning.
Winter Solstice is a great time for slowing down and reflecting as you prepare to move forward into a new year with intention and conscious creation of how you choose for your life to be...
Unfortunately Winter Solstice is also smack-dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of preparations for Christmas and this year 6th day of Hanukkah. Kind of tough to slow down and reflect in the midst of holiday parties, gift-shopping and wrapping and all that jazz.
SO... I have a challenge for you my fellow women over 40....
Here is the Stress-less Winter Solstice Challenge:
- Rethink the drink. Seriously, consider setting aside the cocktails tonight and tomorrow in honor of Winter Solstice. Instead of spiked nog or cabernet sauvignon, sip on a cup of chamomile or kava tea and soothe your mind and body. We really need to consider at this stage in life how alcohol is working against our deepest desire to feel bright, light and youthful.
- Early to bed early to rise makes a woman healthy, wealthy and wise. Since you won't be imbibing on the eve of Winter's Solstice, after sipping your soothing tea, hit the hay early. Sleep deeply and wake early. Make the most of the shortest day of the year this way. Enjoy the silence in your house while others sleep in this Sunday Winter Solstice morning.
- Sit with yourself in silence. In the early morning of Winter Solstice, sit up, bring your hands together at your chest in the prayer position (in yoga we call this anjali mudra) take a breath into the center of yourself, close your eyes and then relax the backs of your hands down to rest on your lap with palms open in a gesture of receptivity. Sit. Be. Breathe. If your thoughts start jumping around trying to hook you into jumping up and doing stuff, notice those thoughts as jumping monkeys and bring your mind's focus back to the softness of your automatic breath... Stay here for at least ten minutes.
- Write with the flow. Sit down with a notebook and a pen after your time sitting in silence. Write these three phrases on three separate pages: 1) As I look back on this past year I feel...... 2) As I look forward into the year ahead I want.... 3) As I sit here in this present moment, time and space I notice.... Allow yourself to fill each page without editing what you are writing.... Just let it flow....
- Make soup. On Winter Solstice it's a great day to make a homemade root vegetable soup. Combine 3 cups of vegetable stock, 2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt, 1 tblsp of fresh chopped thyme, 2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary, 2 cups of chopped root veggies (carrots, parsnips, potato, onion) and simmer until veggies are good and tender.
- Do some Yin Yoga. This need not be complicated. Yin yoga is simply observing a series of simple stretching postures that you hold for much longer than you normally hold in order to get a deeper stretch but also to observe a time of inner reflection within each posture.
- Consider Craniosacral Therapy. I am having craniosacral therapy on this Winter Solstice. It's deeply relaxing, rejuvenating and seems to reset my nervous system. You can look for a practitioner in your area if you are not in metro Atlanta.
- Go Slow. Throughout your day, slow everything down. Catch yourself when you start gearing up habitually. Choose to slow your breathing. Walk slowly. Eat slowly. Slow down your thoughts by consciously breathing deeply and returning to present time, present space.
With these 7 practices, you will find that your Winter Solstice resets your body, mind and spirit. Choose to have December 21 be a day of less stress, contemplation, rest and reflection this year.... I, for one, will be enjoying my birthday this way this year...Namaste...