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Yoga for the Winter Solstice (+ Rituals to Honor the Season)

Yoga for the Winter Solstice (+ Rituals to Honor the Season)

The shortest day of the year may seem depressing, but this time of the year represents death and rebirth. It serves as a reminder that the darkest days are behind us and the light is on its way back.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the winter solstice is the most yin-like day of the year. So what better way to honor the darkest day than with a slow yin yoga practice?

Winter Solstice Yin Yoga

The yin yoga sequence above was created with a death and rebirth theme in mind. It will leave you with ideas of what you’d like to invite in between now and the summer solstice come June and how you’d like to spend your time. Perhaps hibernating and rejuvenating is what you need. Or may creation is calling your name.

Winter Solstice Rituals to Enhance Your Practice

Practice by Candlelight

Use one or a couple of lighted candles to signify the light coming back into the world more and more after the longest night. Winter solstice or not, practicing by candlelight can be a great way to draw your attention inwards during your practice and provide a soothing atmosphere.

Cleanse Your Space & Make an Altar

It could be a single crystal, a piece of jewelry you wear often, or a piece of paper with your wishes written on it to create an altar. It could be a combination of things with as little or as much added as your like in front or to the side of your yoga mat. Creating a sacred space before your practice, especially on such a significant time of the year can add a deeper intention to your practice.

I love to smudge my space using sage and palo santo inviting in a release of negativity and guidance to connect with my highest self and the Universe. Remember to buy your sage and palo santo ethically and locally!

Journal to Reflect on the Year Past

To connect to the idea of death associated with the winter solstice, a reflection of what has happened this year, both good and bad, is an excellent way to close off the year. Here are some journal prompt ideas for reflection:

  • What do I think went well this year?
  • What was something that I grew from and am grateful for?
  • What did I get through that surprised me?
  • List as many events, people, and realizations that you’re grateful for.
  • What’s something I learned about myself this year?

Journal Intentions for the Year to Come

You may wish to take it a step further and begin creating intentions for what you’d like to bring into the new year based off of your reflections. Continue journaling with these intention-setting journal prompts:

  • What do I want to continue doing in the new year?
  • What do I want to leave behind from this year?
  • How do I want to feel in the new year?
  • In what areas of my life do I want to grow in the new year?
  • What do I need the most of in the new year?

Pull a Card for Guidance

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I’m someone who gets stuck in my head a lot, and pulling cards helps me to see a new perspective that I often limit myself from seeing. You could use one of the journal prompts above to ask your cards, or ask your own question. Once you pull a card (or a few) you can add it to your altar and reflect on it in your journal or through your yoga practice. The cards I’ve been using and loving lately are perfect for yogis. They’re A Yogic Path Oracle cards by Sahara Rose.

Add Grounding Crystals

Add crystals to your altar or around your yoga mat! Clear quartz is ideal for clarity if you’re looking ahead into the new year. Black tourmaline is a favorite of mine because of its grounding energy and the belief that its said to rid negative energy. This is ideal to not focus on the bad of the past year as you reflect in your journal.

Bathe in the Moonlight

It may be cold where you are, but getting outside even for a few minutes before or after your yoga practice can help you to integrate all that came up, calm, and ground you. Nature is healing in itself and too often I find myself forgetting to use it as a way to help me find clarity and recenter myself but these significant events of the year always remind me to.

Indulge in a Warm Bath

Water is an exceptionally healing tool and one that I use all the time! Take a bath by candlelight after your practice, or if you’re short of time let warm water rush over your body in the shower (also by candlelight) to cleanse and release what you no longer want to hold onto. Picture it all washing off of your skin and visualize a light pouring into your body through the top of your head for an added, enlightening experience.

Get Clear on Your Yoga Purpose

I believe that there is a direct link between your yoga practice and how you feel about your life. Your yoga practice should fulfill you, support you, and give you the capacity to handle all that life throws at you. That’s why it’s so important to get crystal clear on your yoga purpose so you can personalize your practice, and adjust it to support you going into the new year. Try my Rediscover Your Yoga Purpose Ritual to get the most out of your practice going forward!

What is the meaning of the winter solstice?

The winter solstice signifies the longest night of the year and the shortest day. This happens when the earth is tilted as far away from the sun as it can get. This happens twice a year, but only once in each hemisphere. For the northern hemisphere, this most often occurs on the 21st of December, though it may change dates depending on the year. For the southern hemisphere, the darkest day is experienced in June.

What does the winter solstice mean spiritually?

Many traditions are held around the world to celebrate this astronomical occurrence. Most will connect to the spiritual connection of death and rebirth or renewal, the symbolism between the dark a light (like the yin/yang symbol in yin yoga), and a fresh start for new beginnings.

Whether you choose to celebrate by burning a yule log, practicing yoga, or reflecting on the year and what’s to come, you’ll honor the changing of the light and become in tune with the magical connection you have to nature.

What’s next?

  • Want your new year intentions to stick this year? Get accountable and step into the new year with confidence in my 1-on-1 yoga and coaching privates – Sacred Exploration. Book your first call now and get yoga tips that are practical for life.
  • Bookmark ritual ideas for other astronomical events: Spring equinox, summer solstice, and autumn equinox.

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