I am not a big fan of Winter. With the onset of fall I begin to dread its arrival and by January, I am anxiously counting down the days until Spring. It is a perspective that makes being in the moment a bit of a challenge, but since the art of mindfulness is an ever-evolving practice, I remain always hopeful.
I started counting down this past Wednesday morning and learned that there were exactly 74 days, 11 hours and 45 minutes until the Vernal equinox in March. Which, anyone who lives in the mountains in West Virginia knows, does not necessarily mean the return of warmth; it does, however, create a light at the end of the dreary grayish tunnel we call Winter.
In the middle of a recent sun salute (Surya Namaskar, a series of 8 yoga postures traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day), it occurred to me that I take the sun for granted, a habit I probably developed during my 17 years in the Arizona desert while baking in a “dry heat” which frequently exceeds 110 degrees. Still, it is always around this time of year that I begin to question my decision to leave a place that enjoys an average winter temperature of 66 degrees. I began my next salutation with a more focused intent on honoring and appreciating the sun, hoping to gently coax it to return.
After my morning practice, with 73 days left to go until spring, I sat down with a bowl of homemade soup and savored its soothing, warm deliciousness. I was surprised by the sudden boost in mood that it provided. According to Ayurvedic medicine my energy is predominately vata. (Ayurveda is a traditional healing system native to India, which stresses a balance of three elemental energies, or humors: vata, pitta, kapha).
Vata people have a tendency toward cold hands and feet, and experience discomfort in cold climates. As a vata, Arizona was probably the ideal climate for me, but my vata tendency toward impulsivity and change was surely the impetus for my desire to relocate back East. Warm, heavy foods are advised for keeping vata energy in balance, which probably explains the surge of serotonin provided by my soup. With that in mind I decided to spend the next 73 days until spring exploring, creating, and relishing soups.
Thursday’s soup was a hearty blend of 15 beans. Yesterday it was a warm and savory vegetable for lunch with the left-over 15-bean for dinner. Today I will be making a delicious cream of potato which I hope will serve as a distraction from the disappointment of being snowed in and missing the kundalini yoga workshop I have been looking forward to all week.
With 71 days still left to go, I will be looking for lots of soup variations, so please share any recipes you have. For now I’m off to practice my Surya Namaskar and start my soup. Until next time, keep warm.
[Yoga is available at the Center three evenings a week at 6PM. Monday: Hot Yoga, Tuesday: Yin Yoga and Thursday: Hatha Yoga. Hope to see you there.]