For most of us in the northern hemisphere, winter is well underway. The days are short, the winds are biting, and we are warming ourselves with spiced tea and cozy holiday celebrations. You may remember the introduction to meditating with the seasons in our fall article, where we touched on the cyclical nature of our bodies, lives, and environments. As we approach the winter solstice on December 21st, the longest night of the calendar year, taking time to meditate in harmony with the winter season can bring many benefits.
Winter is an opportunity to slow down, take a self-reflective inventory, and identify the things no longer serving us. Winter corresponds with darkness and the earth element, which invites us to retreat to our inner terrain. There’s a reason we tend toward nostalgia and New Year’s resolutions at this time– we, like the earth, are shedding what’s no longer needed and preparing for the new growth of spring. What do you want to release before the new year begins?
A winter meditation practice can help clarify these questions and harmonize your inner process with that of the earth. By intentionally creating silence and stillness for a few minutes everyday, we can align ourselves with nature’s current state of rest. Follow the steps below and tap into the earth’s energy for your winter meditation practice:
1- Create Space
A great way to set up your winter meditation is to create a cozy, warm, and inviting space in your house or office, that you can visit daily to connect with your practice. You can bring anything into this space that inspires you or helps you focus – a candle, bell, singing bowl, blankets, or pillows are a great start.
Another option is to find a space outside – maybe a wintry river or your favorite tree – where you can bundle up and sit to meditate for a few minutes a day.
2- Set Intention
Next, set your intention to connect to the earth and release what does not serve you as you meditate. This can be as simple as reciting, “May this time bring me into harmony with the Earth. May I be shown what to release,” or another intention that feels right for you.
3- Watch Mindfully
As you begin your meditation, quiet your mind and imagine the inner space of your body–where your muscles, bones, and organs are– as hollow, glowing with a silver light. You can mentally scan your body, part by part, and release any tension you may be holding. Feel into the sensations of rest and emptiness.
Once you are finished scanning your body, ask the question, “What is no longer serving me?” Watch with gentle awareness as images, words, and stories come to mind. You can imagine these things that no longer serve you evaporating in the hollow space of your body, like a snowflake melting on a windshield.
After your meditation, it can be useful to reflect on what came up that you would like to release this winter. For a bonus meditation, you can write these things on a piece of paper and burn them safely outside, releasing whatever you wrote back to the earth.
We hope these steps will maximize your winter meditation practice and support you in finishing the year with wellness, happiness, and clarity.
Written by Featured Writer – Madeline Winchester