Winter in the Northern hemisphere is typically cold & slow. It is an essential time to integrate, dream, set intentions and be quiet. When the bear and bees rest deeply, we are in between. Humans keep pushing through the muddy, slushy, icy winters rather than slowing down and embracing the death around us.
To witness death, to sit with it, is to recognize the fullness of the life cycle. In this space, rebirth can occur as can manifestation. During the Winter, we are being called forth to rejoice what we have created since last Spring, what we have dreamed into reality or have yet to bring forth in the coming moments and years. Stagnancy breeds complacency, so we must in a sense keep moving and breathing and dreaming and doing... and we can be slow and methodical as the world around us quiets into peaceful hibernation. Taking cues from nature, taking care of self, reflecting.
This time of year, it is most important to stay nourished. We may all have our cold weather activities and new practices with New Year's resolutions, and here I offer a few more to keep you well and vibrant:
.:. Making Bone Broth .:.
A great and nourishing food with a long-standing history of health benefits. More info: http://nourishingtraditions.com/update-on-broth/
I enjoy mine with beef bones, since we have such amazing happy grass-fed cows here in the valley, raised by friends.
+ 1 gallon of filtered water
+ 1/2 pound beef bones (or bones saved from two whole chickens)
+ 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
+ 1 onion quartered, other herbs/spices are optional too
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and leave on low overnight, 8-12 hours, yields the first batch after straining liquid from pot, and can be topped with water and cooked again to make a less potent batch.
.:. Dry Brushing .:.
Moving lymph is so important with the slower seasons and increased susceptibility to germs and dis-ease. The lymph is our clean-up fluid that circulates towards the heart. Using a dry brush not only gently exfoliates the skin increasing growth of healthy cells and sloughing off the old, but it encourages the movement of lymph just beneath the surface. A gentle practice of dry brushing just 5 minutes each day-- or at least once a week-- can support your immune system and improve your mood.
.:. Decreasing Caffeine & Substituting .:.
With the seasonal change, the body recognizes this time as a slower season. The body is also exposed to less of the natural world and requires more effort and energy to purify itself. Caffeine is an inhibitor of iron absorption and other essential minerals, so during this time, finding other warm and tasty beverages will better support the body.
Favorites include (with links):
-Bliss Milk: My twist on traditional Ayurvedic Golden Milk made with Turmeric, Black Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Ashwagandha
-Maca Latte: My favorite coffee substitute that still gives energy while supporting the liver and nervous system; made lovingly with Maca, Cacao, and Roasted Chicory. I add mine to hemp milk and froth it!
- Herbal Tea: Ginger, Lemon, Black Pepper tea (an Ayurvedic staple that supports the throat & tummy)
+ 2 cups water
+ Thumb of ginger, sliced
+ Big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
+ 1/4 tsp black peppercorns
Bring water with ginger to a boil, add in peppercorns, and turn off heat. Steep 10 minutes and add lemon juice, and honey (optional). Sip slowly.
.:. Exercising the Mind .:.
Recommended tools are those which involve full presence rather than listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts that allow for "multi-tasking," I suggest using the mind fully to engage in the present moment. Some of my favorite methods include Meditation, Watching the Fire, Yoga Nidra, Ecstatic Dance, and Reading.
What are your tools to avoid the Winter-time Blues?
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