Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice marks an end and a beginning. It is the end of the lengthening of nights and the beginning of the lengthening of days. Whenever something ends if paves the way for a new beginning.

Even though the days are getting longer, it feels like we are entering a period of darkness. Darkness gives us the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and go inward. Some people may be afraid of the dark, but the dark is necessary to appreciate the light. Opposites work together in surprising ways. When it is dark it may be difficult to see, but that is often where we make important discoveries. It forces us to be more careful and to use our other senses.

The actual winter solstice happens in a split second when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. It is testing the edge. Whenever anything reaches an extreme it must reverse direction. We learn from testing our edges. But we must test our edges with sensitivity and compassion. If we go too far we can injure ourselves but even that can teach us important lessons.

Yoga helps us to test our edges if we engage ourselves fully when we practice. It is possible to injure ourselves in yoga. But the injuries can teach us where our edges are. The healing process can teach us how to test our edges safely. The goal is not to be injured but to learn how to test our edges and possibly redefine those edges. Just as the dark is needed to see the light, testing our limits helps us to expand those limits.

Life always begins in darkness. The seed germinates underground and the fetus grows in the womb. Winter solstice is a time of rebirth, reminding us of our own beginnings.

Darkness allows us to see the stars. Embrace darkness as a way to appreciate the mysteries that surround us and keep us feeling alive and on the edge of discovery.

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