The Christmas, Chanukah and Winter Solstice season is here and whether you love it, hate it or just try to get through it, it can undoubtedly bring up some challenges for normal routines.
While the winter season is a natural time to slow down and rest, we don’t always pay attention to what nature is telling us. Already busy people get more busy. Sometimes we find ourselves eating, drinking or spending more than we might normally.
Don’t worry, this is not going to be a blog post about all the things you shouldn’t be doing or how you should try to live like a monk while everyone parties around you. The pull of the cultural momentum is strong, and staying true to who you want to be is hard. Yoga is, in part, the process of discernment. Choose with intention and not just habit.
The things I really look forward to at this time of year are; cocooning at home and reading, doing more restorative yoga practices, putting on a sparkly dress, eating buttery shortbread and seeing my closest friends on the winter solstice. I also love the soft, low light during the short days and the beautiful lights that decorate the night. But I also experience feelings of sadness, loss and overwhelm at this time of year. I have holes in my life where people used to be and I have lots of memories of loved ones who are no longer here. And I have a tendency to overindulge.
So here is my plan to take really good care of myself this month.
- I won’t over schedule myself or commit to things I really don’t want to do. (like going to the mall!)
- I will schedule time with my kids, people who love me and uplift me and of course, lots of walks with my dog.
- I will also put on a sparkly dress, eat some shortbread and have a rich glass of eggnog
- I will do a sacrificial practice of making sure the leftover shortbread is given to a good cause or given to the garbage gods.
- I am going to practice some restorative yoga then give myself a warm oil massage (see what Abhyanga is below),
- I am going to make a VAT of ginger tea and miso soup to keep on hand to nourish us. (recipes below)
- I am going to try and acknowledge, journal about and ‘sit’ with my feelings as much as possible.
- I will cut myself some slack if I fail to do any of these things perfectly. 🙂
What is on your list for self care this month?
I wish you all the very best this season, and I am so grateful to all of you for your great company on this path,
(recipe from “ginger tea makes friends” by James Barber)
“For each person : A mugful of water, an inch or so of fresh ginger grated coarsely into a saucepan, two generous teaspoons of brown sugar (or equivalent) and half a lemon (peel and all)
Boil (lid on) for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour (strained) into mugs and drink hot.
The first sip liberates your taste buds ( the Japanese do the same thing with sliced ginger for sushi) the second (which should be a good mouthful) clears your head, and half way through the cup should get you off – nice and warm and loose. “
Winter vegetable miso soup
(Original recipe from South River Miso)
• 6 scallions sliced
• 2 medium onions, sliced
• 2 carrots sliced
• 2 parsnips sliced
- 1 cup cabbage sliced
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 2 tbsp Miso*
- ¼ tsp oregano (optional)
- 1 quart water
- Fresh parsley chopped
Place root vegetables (first 4) in order listed into heavy soup pot. Add 2 cups water and cover.
On high flame, bring to a boil. Reduce flame and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add cabbage, kale and remaining water. Return to high flame and bring just to boil. Reduce to medium flame and simmer 10-15 minutes.
In small bowl blend miso with 3–4 tablespoons liquid from pot. Reduce flame to low; add diluted miso and oregano. Simmer for 4–5 minutes and serve garnished with fresh parsley.
*Miso is a fermented soybean paste
10 scientifically researched benefits of miso:
1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.
3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.
4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.
5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).
6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.
7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.
9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.
10. Is high in antioxidants that protect against free radicals.
Abhyanga – warm oil massage