How to Slow Down and Savor the Sensual During the Winter
Traditionally, winter is a time for slowing down, going inward, and honoring yin energy. It’s a time of downturn, hibernation, and awaiting the renewal of spring.
We can honor this timeless approach to the winter months and let go of the cultural imperative to do, do, do, setting ourselves up for a rich holiday season.
Listen to your body
The change to winter weather signals to our bodies that it’s time to put on a protective coating of fat to shield us from the cold. This doesn’t have to be something we resist.
We can listen to our body’s need to insulate by cooking hearty, healthy foods like soups, stews, and root vegetables that help us feel warmed and grounded from the inside out. We can savor the warmth of the bowl, feel the steam against our cheek, and appreciate the scent of the spices.
This is all before our meal even touches our lips.
If we happen to gain a few extra pounds, we can focus on acceptance. If we want to be really subversive, we can even enjoy the sensation of having a bit of extra weight on our bodies, giving thanks for the warmth it offers.
We may also feel the need for more naps, and this is perfectly fine. Our bodies are resetting for the new year. We’re designed to do this, and honoring that helps us stay in touch with our actual needs and natural appetites.
Naps are a sweet, rejuvenating gift to ourselves. We can get in touch with sensuality as we drift off to sleep through soft fabrics, dim lights, and gentle music.
Take time to tune in
You can be present in your environment just for the sake of enjoyment. This creates little moments to appreciate things we might otherwise miss.
If you’re taking your normal morning walk, you can stop at a park you might otherwise pass by. When you do so, take a moment to open up to your surroundings and notice the dew on the grass, the trees swaying in a wintry breeze, or the stillness of the distant skyline.
You can do the same in your own home.
Find a time to simply sit and take in your surroundings. Is there a trinket on the shelf you hadn’t noticed in awhile? What kind of memories does it invoke? If you make this a practice, maybe you’ll notice that the sunlight makes different patterns on the walls at different times of day.
There’s sensuality all around us, even in the mundane. We simply need to slow down enough to notice it.
Focus on relationship
Above all, the holidays are about community, relationship, and love. Relationships are also one of our greatest teachers.
You can use this time to reflect on the relationships that have come and gone this year, and those you want to focus on going forward. Look back at beautiful memories and share them with loved ones. Take time to strengthen your intimacy with those closest to you. Emphasize heartfelt talks and quality time.
Mindfulness practices like these are deceptively simple. All the time is a bit of intention.
It’s not always easy to go against the grain and infuse life with ease and sensual appreciation when everyone else is a whirlwind. But your nerves, your heart, and your spirit will thank you for it.
Crystal Hoshaw is a mother, writer, and longtime yoga practitioner. She has taught in private studios, gyms, and in one-on-one settings in Los Angeles, Thailand, and the San Francisco Bay Area. She shares mindful strategies for self-care through online courses. You can find her on Instagram.
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The twinkling starry lights are hung over Winslow Way and folks are journeying from afar to reunite with loved ones are sure signs that the glorious holiday season is upon us!
As magical and fun as the events and energy of this time are, for some, obligations at the end of the year can also be overwhelming and stressful. Along with the fantastical joy of celebrating, there are also major disruptions to daily routines, seemingly constant coordinating of travel plans and meals, and spending time with family members who may heighten your stress response. Add all that up, and it could equal your body needing a little extra love to make the most of these times.