Winter Solstice: Stretches to Re-energize and Revitalize

Workout, reflection on the season.

The winter solstice is upon us! The winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, falls on December 22, 2015 and is the perfect time to connect the mind, body and spirit. Darkness is the place where we can reflect, renew, and restore from the light of the day. Light, the opposite of dark, is a metaphor for other opposites throughout our lives such as hope and despair, love and hate, and success and failure. It is important to remember that how we cope and face experiences shapes who we are.

During this season of celebrations and traditions many people can feel overwhelmed, so on this day take some time for yourself to reflect on your personal values and goals. You can practice reflections different ways. For beginners, it may be a simple 5 minute meditation. For individuals with more experience, you may explore a more advance yin yoga practice or introduce essential oils into your meditation.

With the winter solstice also comes the promise of the New Year and new beginnings. As you reflect on the year and what is to come, the possibilities are limitless! The winter solstice presents a positive opportunity to consider your values and goals for the New Year.

Below are a few suggestions for reflection on the winter solstice that can add a calming effect to your season.

IMG_33861. Deep-stretching or yin yoga
Deep-stretching is a type of meditation which is performed to stretch the connective tissues of the body. This can be beneficial by increasing feelings of calm and balance, lower stress levels, increase flexibility, improve meditation, and deepening relaxation. Various positions are held for minutes at a time. Try these positions at the beginning or end of your day.
Pictures Examples: Butterfly, happy baby, lying twist, deer.

IMG_33282. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation or living in the moment is the focus on one’s current physical state. You can do this simply by sitting cross legged and breathing. Inhale and count to 5, hold your breath and count to 3. Next exhale and count to 8. Hold your breath and count to 1. Repeat for 5 minutes. While breathing, take notice of how your body feels and the sounds around you. Focusing on that moment takes some practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself. When practiced regularly, mindfulness meditation has mental and physical benefits such as regulating stress and anxiety as well as reducing risk for certain diseases.

xzvzx3. Explore with essential oils
Scent can have a powerful influence on mood. Lavender oil has been used for tension headaches, to calm and relax the mind and reduce stress. Wild orange oil can create a sense of happiness and well-being. If you are feeling adventurous, try different scents in a diffuser while you practice yoga or meditation.

Before beginning any exercise program consult with your Certified Personal Trainer.