Winter is dark, destitute, deep and almost unforgiving. Winter is hard, but when one harmonizes with winter there is a deep inner stillness and unwavering contentment that simmers through this cold. In winter all animals go under and this descent below the surface of things is to enter the realm of the unseen. It is to go into the root system of the tree, realizing that below the surface a root system exists far greater than the trunk, branches, and leaves. This is the unconscious, the deepest, darkest and most rigid habits we hold in our bodies. In winter you want to unlock these mysteries and become insightful.
The organ of winter is the kidneys. These are the underground waters, your genetic patterning. Your left kidney is the left leg, the materialized maternal root of embodiment. The right kidney is the patterned paternal, the foot that goes out into the world and takes a risk. Your third root, the perineum, nestled between the pubis and coccyx, weaves the narrative of you in centre, choosing. The associated gland is the adrenals, your batteries, and how piqued up you are. This is your hearing, the spherical nature of the kidneys is so that you hear everything that is going on around you. Right when you have a deaf zone you have a blind spot. This is where you’ll get blindsided. You always have to deal with the fall. The more you hear circumferentially, the safer you will feel. The dialogue of the kidneys is all about the safety of being in the physical body, moving your underground waters so the bones remain pliant, and having enough heat in your endocrine glands so that you don’t get too swampy and breed infection.
In the yoga practice you want to physically turn inwards. Coming into forward folds, rounded plows, yoga sleeps, and meditations are a great way to do this. The more you internalize yourself in winter the healthier you will be come spring. Even in a modern day society you still need good techniques to go into your cave, to hibernate and gain insights. You are creating the conditions in winter to move out into the world as a successful, skillful human being that owns technique, that handles capability, and harnesses a higher vision from a highly nuanced internal narrative that is insightful and up-lifting. Winter makes you powerful and is the true gold of the practices.
Drawing by Kat Villain.