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Celebrating the Winter Solstice

ayurveda Jun 18, 2022
Bhakti Rose - Winter Solstice Sale

 ‘And as with prayer, which is a dipping of oneself toward the light, there is a consequence of attentiveness to the grass itself, and the sky itself, and to the floating bird.'

 from Winter Hours by Mary Oliver

Winter is my favourite season.  As a pitta constitution in ayurveda (fire, fire, fire) I find the heat of summer here in Sydney stifling and enjoy the cooler winter days much more. When I did my ayurveda training over fifteen years ago now I studied mostly in North America, India and the UK.  It was a wonderful time travelling all over the world with my teachers and learning through doing.  A particularly precious memory was spending time with Maya Tiwari in her ashram in South Carolina learning all the women’s protocols from ayurveda.  This content is often not taught in ayurvedic trainings, or if it is it is taught by men and in a very ‘masculine’ model of delivery.  My teacher was different.  She taught us by example, living with us in the ashram as we prepared meals by scratch from hand, chanted mantras, tended the veggie garden and got to know the deer and other creatures living in the forest that surrounded us.  It was a time of intensive study and lived experience that I will never forget.

Here is the warming spice blend Maya Tiwari taught us for winter:

8 tablespoons coriander seeds · 4 tablespoons cumin seeds · 2 tablespoons caraway seeds · 2 tablespoons black peppercorns · 4 teaspoons cardamom seeds

Blend in a pestle and mortar and dry roast before storing in a glass jar.

It's exactly this hands-on approach that I’ve tried to embody in the Ayurveda Goddess training that I offer.  We look at the seasons from the perspective of how we might wish to modify diet and daily routine according to the weather and climate.  Aboriginal people also knew how to live in this way – through the cycles of the year – and in Ayurveda Goddess we explore the seasons through this lens as well. Of course, I’ve adapted the teachings to suit a Southern Hemisphere audience; this is one of the ways in which Ayurveda Goddess training is uniquely Australian In these times of feeling so disassociated from the natural world I think this focus is more important than ever and I’m proud of the acknowledgement of land and Country in my offerings.

‘In the heart of every person on this Earth burns the spark of luminous goodness;
in no heart is there total darkness.
May we who have celebrated this Winter Solstice, by our lives and service, by our prayers and love, call forth from one another the light and the love that is hidden in every heart.’ 

Sometimes in the yoga philosophy classes I teach we discuss the meaning of the word 'enlightenment'.  This principle can be cited as the 'goal' of yoga practice. Enlightenment is a lofty and somewhat intangible goal.  I often prefer to think of it as a deep seated and unchanging happiness. Or as one of my teachers says 'a state where you want for nothing' in other words complete contentment.  However we can also think of Enlightenment as seeing the light in ourselves and others.  Believing that everyone has the spark or the potential to do better and be better. Seeing potential.  This seeing of potential is the promise of the darkest day of the Winter Solstice.  The sun is at its lowest point but we know the warmer brighter weather is ahead.  Just as we can call forth the light in ourselves or in another person even when they seem shrouded in darkness or surrounded by problems. Enlightenment, illumination, is always just around the corner if we look for it and remember it is there.  


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