meditation-by-waterIT’S COMING SOON. I know you don’t want to think about it.

Last winter was one of the longest winters I have ever lived through. One year, I lived in northwest Wisconsin, and we had snow once in May and again in June. I observe that in the month of February, we begin to think that maybe spring will be here soon. In March, we are certain spring is coming soon. By April, if spring is not here yet, well, this is where the skills developed from a long time of yoga and meditation practice come in handy. What I notice first is that many people around me are in various stages of anger and despair.

When we practice yoga and meditation, we can move beyond anger and despair. These are our thoughts and feelings. We become the observer of those thoughts and feelings. We become the observer — not the thoughts and feelings. This is the distinction that makes all of the difference. This is what keeps me sane through a long Minnesota winter.

There are many skills one can develop to thrive during dark times. Now, is the best time to begin to practice these skills. Don’t shove winter back into the denial drawer. Prepare for it now by practicing. Here are some tips (you will have a few more to add depending on what communities you are a part of):

  • Eat as much local grown fresh food as possible during the summer/fall months (fruits and vegetables). Stock up on locally grown storable vegetables for winter. When winter comes and stays, you can draw on the reserves of this wealth of nutrients from the land around us.
  • Spend time just “being” in the sun, walking barefoot on the grass and sit down and look at the trees, listen to the wind. Your brain needs these things. The only way to store these types of memories is to be fully present now.
  • Make a list of things you know make you happy. Create an artistic presentation of your list to put up on your wall or bathroom mirror for winter.
  • Take some photos outdoors this summer (another opportunity to be present).
  • Find a yoga or meditation studio you feel at home in. You can be a part of a community that practices a more positive point of view. Yogis and meditators are generally friendly, community minded folks! Examples of other communities: indoor climbing, health clubs, trampolines, raw food establishments, hiking, camping, biking, running, walking, kirtan, you can probably think of more.
  • Nurture yourself and others around you.
  • Live, play, work, and be present for all of it!
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Karen Kinnard is a yoga teacher, meditator, mom, grandma, wife, backpacker, traveler, studio owner, yoga teacher trainer, biker, climber, camper, reader and cat owner. Karen Kinnard writes a blog called Yoga Care Challenge on Wordpress, owns Yoga Prairie in Eden Prairie and loves to laugh. Contact her at yogacarechallenge.com.

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