Written by Pille Mitt

Return to Light: Yoga for the Winter Solstice

The new solar year is upon us as the Earth begins to tilt back toward the Sun, signifying the completion of another life cycle before the emergence of spring. For thousands of years the Winter Solstice has been celebrated around the world—acknowledging the shortest day of the year as a return to light, a return to innocence; a rebirth along the wheel of life as the great world continues to spin.

During this cycle, we are invited to realign with our goals and ideals as we look toward the new year ahead—despite the chaos of the holiday season as the calendar turns.

Winter Solstice has been a time of celebration, rest, and emotional and physical nourishment for thousands of years.

Setting intentions at the winter solstic practice

As we lay out the framework for our plans, we are building a path that lights the way through the darkness of winter and guides us toward our brightest future. Through continued refinement of our goals, a willingness to understand that mistakes will be made and that we may need to change course along the way, intentions are little stepping stones that lead us like a compass toward our highest potential. An intention is the starting point of a dream; what makes the unconscious conscious. It is the creative power that fulfills our heart’s desires, be it career or relationships, money or material things, personal or spiritual ascension.

Solstice practice

Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere coincides with the sun’s ingress into earth-sign Capricorn, the sign traditionally aligned with the knees. Kneel in gratitude for your body, your practice, your life. Let saying the word knees be a kind of yogic mnemonic for thinking about your needs. Which ones really could use some attention now? While you are working on the answer to that question, please your knees in these poses, which connect you to Mother Earth.

Much like our yoga practices, our intentions are always in flow—and are changing from moment to moment. Through the ritual of practice, the intentions we set in motion will automatically become second nature, as old layers, habits, and selves begin to fall away in this great unraveling toward the Self; our truest nature. And like a seed, an intention must be planted, nourished, and given patience. But an intention cannot grow if we cling to it—it must be released outwardly to make itself known to the universe.

Activate your intentions for the new year by turning inward and awakening your inner fire; by learning to see in the dark. Think of the Winter Solstice as the fourth and final movement of your 2020 life-symphony. Synchronize your breath to movement that’s strong and intuitive. Go slowly, and let go of what no longer serves you so that you may clear the slate for all that is coming your way.

Article written by Pille Mitt
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