Is it me or are New Year’s Resolutions a little outdated? Don’t get me wrong, I love to set goals and accomplish them. However, New Year’s Resolutions feels like a thing of the past because they can feel redundant. For me, vowing to lose that last 10 pounds every year finally got old. What if self-improvement was grounded in deeper transformation?
There is something culturally and spiritually that calls us to evolve especially around this time of year. It has to do with the Winter Solstice.
The Winter Solstice is recognized in Eastern traditions as a time of transformation. Agni is the Sanskrit word for sacred fire, it is at the heart of transformation. It ignites both cellular metabolism and mental, emotional and spiritual regeneration. This brings inspiration, passion, and a new way of life. It is both destructive & creative.
December 21st is the Winter Solstice and marks the darkest point of the year. The term Solstice is a combination of two Latin terms, sol (sun) and sistere (to cause to stand still) and literally means “sun stands still.” Nature reminds us to find stillness and pause. Aligning with nature ignites Agni so that we bring light during this time of darkness. If there’s anything that’s been causing stress and anxiety, this is the time to shine light on it.
Meditating while sitting in stillness gives you the opportunity to become aware of your shadow thoughts. These are the thoughts and feelings that form a veil of illusion which are thoughts anchored in fear, judgement, worry, and resentment. In Sanskrit, this veil is called Avidya and is at the root of suffering.
This is a time of reflection and re-connection. Where Agni, the sacred fire, has the ability to shine light at these areas of darkness bringing insight to where there is confusion. This self-awareness stirs up creative energy to transcend obstacles.
Here are practices you can integrate for the Winter Solstice and throughout the winter season to harness this transformational opportunity. We take this time to go deeper, uproot any weeds, plant new seeds, and tend to our seedlings with self-care. Eventually the seeds transform into a beautiful garden where we can harvest the fruits of our labor. This is the creative energy of Agni.
Here are 8 Winter Solstice Practices to Ignite Agni for Transformation
Declutter - Clean your inner and outer environments. Clear anything that doesn’t spark Joy. Do an inventory check and clear out anything that doesn’t serve you.
Candles & Incense - Light candles, burn incense, or light a fireplace. Create a space that brings in the element of fire. Burn incense that pacifies Vata like frankincense, pine, and lavender.
Yin Yoga or Slow Yoga - Use this yoga practice to bring balance and restoration to your nervous system. This takes you out of “flight or fight” mode and into “rest and digest.” Make time for restorative poses everyday. Here’s a Yin Yoga practice I made that you can do at home!
Gratitude Journal - Keep a gratitude journal for at least 30 days. Gratitude is grounding when things feel stressful. You can make it easy by listing 10 new things everyday or go into detail with storytelling.
Meditation - Try a guided meditation like Life Visioning by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith to help you get grounded and into alignment.
Ayurveda - This is the sister science of yoga in which wellness is a reflection of your alignment with nature. This time of year, is high in Vata energy which reflects the natural elements of Space & Air. This energy dominates the Fall & Winter seasons. Some of the qualities of Vata are cold, dry, irregular, moving, and changeable. Too much Vata can cause an imbalance that manifests as anxiety, digestive disorders, constipation, and insomnia. When Vata is balanced, there are high levels of creativity, connection, and overall wellness. Learn more about Ayurveda & staying balanced in Vata season from one of my favorite teachers Deepak Chopra (https://chopra.com/article/understanding-vata-minimize-stress-and-feed-your-creativity)
Create commitments aka intentions - After you’ve dug deep to uproot any shadow thoughts, it’s time to align with thinking and behavior that is reflective of your light. These are your new commitments. Maybe it’s a morning ritual so you start your day off on the right foot? Maybe it’s practicing unconditional love towards your parents? Make a list and choose 1 or 2 that would make the most significant impact.
Structure & Routine - Make your commitments routine. Your life is a reflection of your habits. What you do on a consistent basis will have an impact on the outcome of your life. Honor your commitments by carving out time in your day for them. Having structure is also very grounding and can help you feel centered when things are changing around you all the time.
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*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.