Yesterday my daughter looked out the window and said, “you know, this is one of those days where it looks like it should be warm outside, but it is actually freezing.”
The sky was a brilliant blue, but it was freezing. In fact, with windchill it was about 15F degrees out. But, we went out anyway and meandered through some conservation land near where we live. There was a forest floor soft with the cover of pine needles, a vast open field and a gorgeous tree for climbing in the center of the field.
I reflected on the tree as my kids climbed it. Outwardly it appeared leafless and barren.
My youngest commented that he thought it might be a petrified tree, because there it stood with it’s silvery gray, smooth trunk, cold to the touch with no leaves. It appeared dead, but we knew it was not.
That tree, I thought, could teach us all something.
The gift of winter is found in the natural slowing down that occurs.
In the winter, trees take their work inside. Having lost their leaves in the fall, they move into dormancy, where the work of the tree turns inward allowing for the creation of new leaves in the spring.
We humans can learn from this. There is such power in slowing down and turning inward.
Both encourage our somatic awareness, where we connect our body and mind and cultivate our ability to feel and be aware.
Let’s face it, next to none of us enjoy feeling things like pain, or hard emotions. But those feelings are how are body talks to us.
And those feelings can be running on constant loop this particular pandemic winter.
Slowing down in a world that rewards us for light speed everything can bring about mega discomfort. Most of us resist slowing down at all costs because it can feel like we are stopping.
We are indoors so much more in the winter, but that doesn’t mean our movement practice has to stop. We can cultivate movement practices like yoga that encourage awareness and mindfulness, noticing the breath and moving in ways that allow our bodies to speak. Winter is an opportunity to move into a more internal place to discover how to listen to the language of our body.
As the trees show us each spring. Slowing down means gaining the ability to go fast in another season.
I hope this winter you can find a way to slow down and move in ways that cultivate your inner awareness. If you’d like to move with me in my weekly yoga based practice, join us on Fridays this winter. We meet on Zoom and each class has a 48 hour replay available. You can click here to sign up for a drop in or multiple sessions.