The Season Invites Us to Journey Inward

Our ancestors lived in rhythm with nature. After the harvest, time was spent inside, repairing those things that were in need of repair before the spring and planting season commenced all over again. Our forebears adapted naturally to a season which invited them to go to bed earlier - and sleep much longer than we do today. The shorter days and longer nights helped them entrain with nature and journey inward, by perhaps reading a bit, or writing letters, or catching up with others. Even animals observed this practice of slowing down as they prepared for the barren winter with many settling down for a period of hibernation.

But we - in this day and age - have accelerated our pace of living. With artificial lights we stay up much longer than we should and we throw off our natural inclinations and rhythm by succumbing to over-stimulation of all sorts. We in essence, do the opposite of what we are wired to do - going out at all hours of the day and night - sleeping very little - and striving to meet more commitments on our schedule than we could possibly honor.

This results in our being irritable, impatient, and not generally in alignment with what the season and rhythms of nature actually intended...

Yesterday, while I waited in a check out lane, I struck up a conversation with an older woman who reminded me of my grandmother. We talked about a time when Thanksgiving was a time for family and for giving thanks - not a day for getting a jump start on holiday shopping. We reminisced about a time when everything was closed on Sundays and folks stayed home, read the paper, shared a meal, and generally enjoyed family time. Maybe there was a TV - but for many years there was not. But no one was ever bored. My new friend and I chatted for a while - then wished each other a wonderful Christmas.

I reminded my yoga students this morning, that during this time, it is best to do some restoratives - or at the very least, a few forward bends before going to bed to quiet the nervous system and settle down before retiring for the evening. Even doing one pose such as Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose) will enable one to relax by soothing the adrenal glands, which tend to be constantly depleted by a life style in a perpetual fight or flight response.

As we dive into this season, let us commit to one or two practices regularly to bring us back to our center, and like our ancestors, remind us to journey inward.

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