For many of us, this time of year can be a stressful period filled with end-of-the-year work deadlines, holiday parties, shopping for gifts, and travel. If you’re busy rushing to-and-fro and feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to remember that winter is also the season of deepest yin. In the balance between yin and yang, yin represents the darker, cooler, softer, and slower side of the equation. It is a time of quiet, peace, stillness, and internal reflection.
The next time someone cuts you off in traffic or brings up some holiday family drama, embrace the yin spirit of the season. Take a deep breath, focus within, and find your calm center in the midst of the chaos. Minimize the amount of stress in your life by learning to say “no” and setting limits. Take time for yourself. Simplify family traditions and emphasize the things that are truly important to you. Nurture yourself by eating well, avoiding over-indulgence, and continuing to exercise and engage in the activities that you enjoy.
Here is a simple deep breathing exercise calm and quiet the mind while emphasizing your internal yin:
1. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, counting to six. Focus on expanding your diaphragm.
2. Hold your breath while slowly counting to three.
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth, counting to eight.
4. Continue taking deep breaths while counting. You may want to keep your hand on your stomach to feel it rise and fall with each breath.
5. As you breathe slowly and deeply, feel your body becoming more relaxed and know that it is working efficiently.
Wishing everyone much happiness, peace, and yin this holiday season!