A unique day for participants who booked in to learn more about how to assist the body as it navigates the natural releases of wintertime. The season is one that asks nature and all connected to it to release all that is old so it can ready itself for the arrival of spring and the new life it heralds. Postures were chosen that nourish the endocrine system and relieve anxiety, stress, depression or what some call the winter blues.

The day began with a hot cacao or tumeric drink sitting by the outdoor open fire. While sitting in a circle we shared some of our unique stories. The connectedness that is a natural yin state immediately creates a sense of wellness. We are made to live in community and barriers that hinder deep connection through communal living slowly release over the course of the day. Connection warms the heart chakra and asks us to release focus on the “I” and replace it with “we”.

This led to a very gentle yin practice that addressed common winter ailments like bronchitis, colds, a compromised immune system and malaise. An understanding of how these conditions are fed by negative thought patterns was also addressed because psyche affects soma. We played with the various negative consciousness levels by placing our bodies in them through asana. What would a virabadrasana 1 look like in apathy or shame or guilt? Lower states were not vilified but unravelled and the strong energy of positive states of awareness replaced the negative. Poses transformed from listless and lifeless to powerful and strong.

Once warm we included the standing postures and used the traditional Iyengar jumps that move students from tadasana into various other postures. These jumps activate the lymphatic system and promotes the detox process. Students used the Iyengar designed yoga chair to deepen into backbends, forward bends and twists. All the postures were held for at least 5-8 breaths so the benefits could be accessed deeply in synch with the breath.

A 2.5 hour practice created an appetite and participants were very eager for the organic lunch which consisted of a hot butternut soup with organic homemade sourdough bread. The bread was a bonus as Cherie, one of the participants is a highly skilled bread maker and she made a loaf especially for the day. This was followed by an Alejandro Junger, clean eats chicken curry, basmati rice and haloumi salad. Vegetarians enjoyed a baked potato loaded with tomato, avocado and mixed raddichio salad. Kitty, another participant brought the nut crunch desert and it was simply delicious. The beauty of such a clean and wholesome meal is that participants have choice and can feel satiated rather than heavy or loaded with food that is hard to digest.

A gentle walk after lunch to aid digestion then led to the final session of the day. We looked at the archetypes that we commonly play during the course of the day and contemplated which of the roles we play over the day and weeks are deficient or excessive. This led to great discussion and sharing and the final, gentle yoga practice allowed time for the integration of what was absorbed through the interactions.

Each day is so unique according to the intention, season and the participants attending. Although the sun did not come out the beauty of the still day with its greys, greens and earthy browns fed us just as much as the yoga, the food and the sharing. The natural environment wrapped around us and supported the unfolding of the day.

The essence of the day lingers and will do for as long as the lessons of quiet reflection, mindful presence and gentle physical opening are observed on a daily basis.

Namasté and many blessings to you.