How To Truly Enjoy Winter: Three Tips from A Yogini
Winter can be a challenging time. The shorter days bring shorter fuses, and our patience for ourselves and our loved ones can diminish with the diminishing light. I try to embrace these seemingly endless months and have actually come to love them, through a kind of beautiful surrender — despite eczema flare-ups and slushy streets. Here are three tips inspired by my yoga practice that help me feel less frosty towards myself and others during these colder times.
The practice of Yin yoga asks us to slow down and contemplate the deeper elements of our life. This practice helps us live in harmony with the seasons and transition with grace through the inevitable changes that challenge us as human beings. Winter is a wonderful time to take our cue from nature and travel inward, a hibernation of sorts. We simply can’t rush around the city the way we do when there’s no snow on the ground. Why fight it? I tend to schedule myself less in the winter, take advantage of sleeping more and I’m a big fan of naps.
Yoga Nidra, a powerful guided relaxation exercise, has been a game changer for me and I try to practice it a few times a week. Here’s one of my favourites by local yoga teacher, Felicia Pavlovic.
Using an eye pillow is a lovely addition — it soothes the tiny muscles around the eyes and helps you tap into the parasympathetic nervous system — the deep healing, rest and digest system. Clementine Fields stocks some lovely ones filled with herbs and gem stones. Bonus if you have a furry creature to cuddle up with, like my best bud, my rescue pup Esther Williams.
Don’t hate, but I truly love getting outside in winter. Growing up in Ottawa, one of the coldest capitals in the world, we simply had no choice. I was on skis at the age of 3, and try to get to the hills as much as possible. I’ve discovered some great cross-country ski trails in Prince Edward County, near The Ferg, where I can bring my dog who pulls me like a mini husky. There’s nothing more zen than gliding through snow-covered trees in the silence of the woods. If balance and coordination aren’t your thing, just go for snow-shoeing, and then you don’t even need a trail. Check out Mountain Equipment Co-op for rentals. Explore the trails in Sandbanks Provincial Park, either on foot, snowshoes or skis.
Self-love is a buzz word these days, but for good reason. Self-compassion allows us to be more compassionate and present with the people around us. Most of us in North America are very good at criticizing ourselves and not so great at truly loving ourselves. The practice of compassion has shown to create happiness and wellbeing, according to The Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research founded by The Dalai Lama at the Stanford School of Medicine. Some of my favourite resources for the practice of compassion are the books and meditations by Tara Brach and Kristin Neff.
What does self-love mean to you? For me, it’s my meditation and journaling practice, watching my mind and catching it when I’m cruel to myself, and doing actions for myself that make me feel good. I love taking hot baths with oils and salts, like this Wyld Skin Care Magnesium Body Bath Soak. When I’m at The Ferg, the claw foot tubs make it all the more delightful. I throw on a relaxing playlist and light a beeswax candle. I love the ones made locally at Honeypie Herbals.
This season brings the added pressure of the holidays, which can be an emotional time. Instead of placing expectations on myself and my family, I revel in the traditions that make me feel connected to a deeper spirituality. In Northern cultures during Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, lighting candles is a ritual, ushering in the return of lighter days. I love tapping into this ancient practice, while soothing my heart.
Winter can indeed be wonderful. The fresh snow lightens up the rooms at The Ferg, and as for the eczema flare ups, I have found a solution. I cake on my go-to all purpose cream by Zoe Organics. I found it smoothed out my irritated dry patches in a couple of weeks. It’s great for my wind-chapped face as well. What are some of your tricks for getting through the winter months?
I’m a nature freak, a health nut, a professional actress, yogini, hotelier and world traveller. I am on a constant quest for the cleanest, greenest skincare to soothe my dry, sensitive, Celtic skin. I love exploring Clementine Fields’ beautifully curated skincare lines — they fit my mandate for organic, sustainable and eco-conscious products. I have a low-mai vibe and dig simplicity. I’ll happily indulge my skincare obsession in the name of dry sensitive skin sufferers everywhere, and share my discoveries with you. Keep in touch with me here or on Instagram as @ladyhardwick or come visit me at The Ferg, my inn in Prince Edward County.