Winter Solstice - the Longest Night
The Winter Solstice marks the astronomical beginning of Winter and gives us the longest period of darkness and the shortest period of daylight in a 24 hour period.
Earth's northern pole reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun at the Winter Solstice. From here on out until the Summer Solstice, the amount of light will increase incrementally each day in our environment here in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Dark/Light cycle is a primordial rhythm, a truth of life. All of Nature is cued by the amount of light in its environment, and as we are Nature, we are also cued by this. We are made of all the elements Nature is made of. The pulse of those elements is inherent within us. Therefore, aligning with the rhythms and cycles of the Earth is a sophisticated way of maintaining our wellbeing.
Yet, we live in a world of artificial light that allows us to work, play, and live by our own wishes or by the imposition of the modern lifestyle. Unfortunately, this muddles our connection to Earth's Dark/Light Cycle, also known as the Sleep/Wake Cycle ~ which regulates our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the biological patterns of the brain, body, and hormones that regulate sleep, energy levels, digestion, and all other physiological processes for optimum health.
Our lives, our growing seasons, and our planet literally revolve around the Sun. The connection between the amount of Sunlight we receive and our wellbeing is a fundamental part of our cosmic physiological blueprint. When we dismiss or go against this innate relationship, it can undoubtedly lead to imbalance.
Here are some general guidelines to help you align with the Dark/Light cycle:
Know your doshic makeup and learn how to pacify it -
When we align with our true unique nature and understand the dominant energies present in our constitution, we can find our natural rhythm much easier and understand better how to balance these energies.
See my article on Doshas for more on this.
Have consistent sleep/wake routines -
The body and mind are easily entrained. It doesn’t take long to inform your body that you are establishing a pattern. The body and mind move towards rhythm ~ if there’s a pattern, it will work towards that.
Wake up with the sunrise -
Vata and Pitta do best when they wake with the Sun as they can use the extra sleep Winter provides, but Kapha does best to get up before sunrise. As Kapha energy is heavy, taking advantage of the early hours where stimulation is more supported allows for a day filled with lighter energy.
Turn off screens and slow down activity 2 hours before bed -
Flow and align with the natural nighttime surge of melatonin your brain produces to help settle the nervous system for a restful sleep.
Drink some herbal tea with sleep supportive herbs -
Drinking teas like Chamomile, Kava Kava, Passionflower, Lavender, Skullcap, or Tulsi about two hours before bed allows the nutrients of the herb to restore your emotional balance and soothe and strengthen your nerves.