Leaning over a pot of ayurveda honey roasted root vegetable soup, I overhear my son rooting into his life by vulnerably sharing with a family friend that he decided to not return to school next semester. I hear him and root in to myself by taking a deep breath and letting it all go; probably more than I have since he announced his decision to me and his dad. “Good for you!”, I remember thinking. Good for him for rooting inward and owning his answer. Good for me for rooting inward and finally letting go of something I’ve been carrying way too long.
Winter is here! Outside, everything in the natural world is withdrawing, going dormant, and embracing a long, dark season of slumber. There is a particular stillness that characterizes winter, and with it comes a subtle invitation to redirect our own energies.
Winter is when I, ayurvedically speaking, root in. I root in through my intentions, I root in through my cooking practices, I root in through my daily practices of yoga and meditation. I root in.
Ayurveda, the life science of yoga, is based on centuries-old science designed to help us maintain or restore balance in the body and the mind throughout the changing seasons. It’s a lifestyle that addresses diet, exercise, and environment, as well as daily routines or practices.
Ayurveda teaches us to take our cues from nature. Just as nature is slowing down in this season, we are invited to use this time to rest, reflect, hold space, vision, hibernate, and withdraw some of your outwardly-focused energy and redirect it inward. That inward redirection is my way of rooting in. I use the winter season to define my intentions and implement lifestyle practices that will help me create the proper internal environment for them to manifest.
Here are some of the intentions I’ve come up with for 2017 and how you can learn to root in to your own life, too:
While most people set annual resolutions, I root in to my year with intentions. How do resolutions differ from intentions? A resolution is a course of action with firm determination; you resolve to make a change. It’s a decision to fix what is wrong with us mixed with a sense of pressure to make it happen. An intention, however, is an objective that guides your actions. It is self-directed, conscious and purposeful with room for change, adaptability, and discovery. Intentions are authentic desires high ideals rooted in what matters most to you. It is making a commitment to align your actions with your inner values. Because intentions are not oriented toward a future outcome, it becomes more profound than meeting a goal. Living with intention is a path, a practice, and a responsibility. To learn how to set meaningful intentions for the upcoming year, check out my workshop, “Set Your Course for 2017: Living the Law of Intention and Desire.”
While most people live a fast food, dining-out, left-over, or frozen-food-dining experience, I root into cooking more during the winter months. I keep my menu simple but ayurvedically sound. In the winter season, ayurveda teaches us to focus on eating warm, cooked, slightly oily, well-spiced foods, favoring a balance of the sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes. I do my best to eat according to my dosha (mind/body constitution), but I allow myself a little wiggle room during the holiday season. One of my favorite things to cook is soup. Soup is easy to prepare, satisfying, and meets all the ayurveda requirements. Here is a link to the honey roasted vegetable soup I prepare frequently. If learning about Ayurveda lifestyle, cooking, or how to balance your dosha is of interest to you, you may want to check out my upcoming Ayurveda workshops, “Winter Season means delicious Ayurveda Food.”
Daily Yoga and Pranayama Practices
While most people resolve to hit the ground running come January 1st, I root into my discipline of daily yoga and pranayama more. Although I’m a recovering gym rat, I’ve transitioned to more mat time and less machine time. Ayurveda encourages us to have an invigorating and expansive daily exercise and yoga practice during the winter season. I walk outside for exercise and daily short vinyasa practice which includes pranayama. A daily ritual like this one can be surprisingly supportive of your overall wellbeing and digestive health. My daily vinyasa and pranayama practice include invigorating yet grounding poses and pranayama structured by the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (Chopra) This routine helps me to invigorate digestion, decongest, ground myself, and relieve stress. Here is a link to a short winter season vinyasa flow I do regularly. If you are interested in learning more about my kind of yoga and pranayama, you may want to check out the 3rd semester class schedule at the Yoga Barn.
Daily Meditation and Journaling
While most people are set to do, do, do, I root into my year through stillness and self-study. I have cultivated a daily 30-minute meditation practice in a style taught to me by my meditation teacher, davidji. I describe the meditation style as being guided inward with ancient teachings as well as mantra based. My 30-minute practice began with a shorter time and built up from there. Here is a link to a guided meditation I recorded. I follow the meditation with journaling, where I write about the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that arose during meditation. I use this journaling practice as a form of self study. Learn more about meditation and journaling at my upcoming workshop, “Mastering the Art of Meditation“.