Seasonal Wellness: Winter

To recap, I am writing posts on seasonal wellness, starting with the season of spring. If you are new to this series, here’s a quick snapshot: “Seasonal wellness simply means that you live in rhythm with the cycles of nature. We can tap into and use this energy to live in balance with the natural cycles of wellness that nature provides. All we need to do is look to nature for guidance.”  Seasonal Wellness: Spring

Winter: Turning in and tuning in

If we want to learn about the season of winter, the best place to turn is to the bear. As we know, bears hibernate for the winter season. Come deep frost, a bear enters into a cave (or womb), and there in the darkness she practices a period of deep rest and solitude.  This is a uniquely feminine, the yin cycle. In Taoism, this is referred to wu wei or the art of “non-doing.”  

Let’s further consider this powerful animal: the bear can swim, run, and climb. They’re dedicated mothers and fierce hunters. In fall, the cycle of harvest, a bear will significantly increase its body weight before entering the den. After a deep cycle of rest and regeneration, the bear will emerge in springtime in full force of new energy and prowess. The bear truly lives in deep harmony with the seasons.

In winter, the bear tells us to lay aside our active doing, and seek regeneration through meditation, contemplation, and detachment.

With the bear as our teacher, you may recognize some themes in your own experience of winter:

  • Has there been a slowing of projects, goals, or activity?
  • Is my body in need of more rest or alone time?
  • Is there an opportunity for contemplative or meditative practice right now?

Turning In

Turning in is a deeply important practice in our modern age. With a near constant stream of information, cell phones, social media, apps, dating sites, news streams, podcasts, docuseries, best-selling books, group text (...are you catching my drift?) it becomes very apparent that we, as a society, place value on the opinions of others, world affairs, and group experiences above the ability to press the proverbial PAUSE button and tune into our own heartbeat.

Winter encourages us to create space between the informational and energetic barrage going on around us and remember that our own heartbeat, our own thoughts, and our own dreams are deeply important.

Wherever you fall on the scale of social activity and information consumption, I suggest allowing yourself the necessary space to go inward. Sometimes this is as simple as taking a few minutes each morning to yourself. Or perhaps, like me, you take long breaks from social media, cell phones, and even your own blog (wink-wink).

Tuning In

There are those among us that have a natural grace through winter. They’re typically found sipping hot tea by the hearth, decorating in warm lights and soft fabrics, and recounting the tranquil beauty of the last snowfall. As my mom would say, winter has never been my “spiritual gift.” In the past I have done winter much like an elephant climbing a tree. It's usually unsuccessful and painful to watch. In the past couple of years, I have taken some notes from my winter people, the bear, and my own imagination to collect a few practices that have helped me to tune in, relax, and participate in the true wonder of winter. Here are a few of my favorites:

Intentional Dreaming:

Winter is the time of the unconscious. It’s also the season of the dream world. In ancient traditions and cultures, our dream world was a way to gather valuable information about the subconscious, or even the waking world, delivered through symbols and experiences in our dreams.

There are many ways to be more in touch with your dreamtime. Some people keep dream journals by recording all of their dreams each morning.  Much like how a muscle is built, we begin to recall our dreams more actively through this process.

I choose to intentionally dream. This means that each night before going to bed, you ask a question and request it be answered in dreamstate. You might also actively send your consciousness to a preferred place / presence / or experience. I always ask to remember the dream. In the morning, see if you received the answer or gathered the information / experience intended.

Meditative Exercise:

Softening activity in winter is often a great practice for many people.  Our bodies exert a lot of energy to keep warm in the colder months, so slowing down or exercising to 65% effort (as opposed to giving your movements 100% everything you’ve got) can be a beneficial shift. Active meditation is also a great option in this arena.  Some of the best practices for mind, body, and spirit in winter are:

  • Walking
  • Yin yoga
  • Breathing exercises paired with movement, such as Qigong
  • Tai Chi

Dream Boarding:

The gift of tuning in is the ability to access information from our deepest core. Often in the great hustle and bustle of the other seasons, we jump on one-way tracks without really contemplating simple, core questions:

Do I enjoy this?
Is this food, person, activity, job serving my well being?
If I could have, do, or be anything or anyone, what would my life look like?
What’s REALLY important in my life?

Winter is a great time for contemplating and writing down thoughts to these greater questions.  After the darkest day of winter, I place images from these visions / dreams / goals on a board that I look at every day. The greater the clarity we can achieve in winter our winter dreams, the more beautiful spring blossom, and hearty the summer fruit.

Holding space for your relaxing, regenerative winter season.

Root Chakra: Healing with the Earth

Are you ready to take a deeper dive into your chakras?


Let’s start at the beginning: the root chakra.

*To get an overview on the seven chakras, you can visit my earlier post here: Chakra Crash Course

The Root Chakra

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. I consider this the “seat” of the chakra system. The color of the chakra is red, and governs the base organs and body systems, including the skin, spine and bone structure, feet, lower back, and blood.

As you might have learned in my Chakra Crash Course, every chakra connects with a scent, stone, music note, and color. I’ll give a quick overview on each, but the majority of information I’ll be focusing on will be in relationship to the emotional / belief system / archetypal aspects of each chakra.


  • Color: Red
  • Essential Oils: Cinnamon, vetiver and grounding scents such as cedarwood and sandalwood
  • Music Note: C
  • Element: Earth

Lessons from the Root Chakra

Our root chakra helps us to feel fully rooted here on Earth, tribally supported, fully accepting of our human experience. Individuals with a strong, root-base chakra, have a sense of home wherever they go. They recognize that home lives within each human being, no matter geographic location.  A healthy, well-balanced root chakra also means we have the capacity to feel safety and security, supported and supportive of others, while fully accepting of our physical bodies.

What I find most interesting about this chakra is that most spiritualist types have a very robust root energy center, not only does it help to balance the higher, spiritual chakras, it also helps to “ground” their spirituality into their daily, human experiences. I think we all know spiritualist types that “say one thing, do another,” - this is often an indicator of a root chakra out-of-balance.

Patterns of Imbalance

Where we have injuries can often be a very good indicator of a root chakra needing attention:

  • Feet or ankle injuries
  • Spinal / lower back injuries
  • Issues with the skin or blood
  • Anxiety
  • Flightiness / accidents

Patterns of imbalance happen on a continuum, sometimes we are simply not taking in enough “fuel” or energy to the center, and other times, we are blocking the flow of energy.  If we use the pool analogy from Chakra Crash Course, imagine seven pools of water.  At the base (the first pool) is our root chakra energy center.  If the pool is lacking in water, we may not be pulling in enough energy to support the chakra. Other times, we the pool is full of water, but not circulating energy. This can mean we are holding tightly to old belief systems in this chakra, unwilling to let go, or grow. Both are patterns of imbalance.

In practice, root-base chakra issues carry emotional and archetypal patterns.  Here are a few common ones I find when working to heal the root chakra:

If we have plenty of energy in our chakra, but little movement, you might notice in yourself or others:

  • Feeling “stuck,” unable to move forward
  • Extreme discomfort and resistance to change
  • Heaviness: both in feeling and in physicality
  • Overly demanding, authoritarian, or controlling, “my way or the highway”
  • Fight-or-flight / reactive-attachment - trauma patterning
  • Orphaned adult archetype: extreme need to “go it alone”
  • Extreme tribalism - cult-like commitments to religious institutions, jobs, or people

When we do not have enough energy in this center, you might notice in yourself or others:

  • Lack of follow-through
  • Accident-proned, due to “spacing out” or physical detachment
  • Anxiety over safety and security (finances, home, partner)
  • Judgement over body
  • Spiritually-inclined, without the ability to manifest or match guidance to actions (lack of integrity)
  • Inability to nurture or care for oneself (emotionally and/ or physically)

Addictions, anxiety, obsessive-compulsions, and suicidal thoughts can all be connected to the root chakra.

Healing the Root Chakra

When working with the root chakra in session, we are clearing old belief systems and patterns of control to help move out energetic blockages in this area. Through emotional healing, we are shedding light on aspects of our consciousness (systems of thought) we have about ourselves and others. Through awareness, we are able to energetically release that which no longer serves us.

I have found that in nearly all sessions I am touching on the root chakra, even if we are primarily focused on issues in another chakra. The root chakra carries the majority of our generational patterning, so it is often where we focus when healing cycles of trauma and abuse passed down in families.  It’s also a wonderful place to “anchor” our energy. In this way we are able to translate our spiritual insights into actionable guidance in our daily lives.

As most of my clients know, I might recommend exercises following a session, to help continue the process of balancing chakras.  While emotional healing works all on its own, I have found that when we combine active practice with inner work, we make changes easier and with less effort.  Here is an exercise from my toolbox, that can help balance the root chakra:

Boosting the Root Chakra

For those that need to energize this chakra -

Have you ever looked at a tree?  Find the tallest, biggest, most robust tree around you.  If you’re not near a tree - imagine one. Now contemplate how high into the sky the tree reaches. It’s awesome, isn’t it?  

Consider how a tree can stand so tall.  Its root system, right?

Imagine how deep and how wide the root system of this tree is.

That’s the power of your root chakra.  The greater our capacity to anchor ourselves, the higher we can reach to the heavens (Father Sky, God, Source, spiritual insight).

Find a quiet place at home, or even better, go outside. Close your eyes and take a deep, cleansing breath. Picture roots coming out of the base of the spine, anchoring down, down, down into the Earth.

On the exhalation, release any negativity, fear, anxiety or confusion.  Feel burden slip from your shoulders and move down the roots, into the Earth.

Let. It. Go.

On the inhalation, take up Mother Earth’s loving compassion, up through the root system and into the base of the spine. Feel a sense of complete acceptance, unity, and compassion.  Up. Up. Up through the spine until the sensation fills your body.


Continue breathing, visualizing, and feeling until you arrive at a sense of inner knowing belonging, unity, support, growth, gratitude.

I have found this practice to work well for those who experience a lot of anxiety and stress. Use this as long or as quickly as you need until you capture the emotion. I have also found it to work well particularly before bed, for those that repeatedly cycle thoughts at night.

*This exercise can still work for those carrying stagnation (lack of movement) in this chakra. If this is the case, I suggest focusing on releasing fear through the root system, and pulling up support and acceptance. Remember, a deep root structure allows a tree to go through change. It bends with the wind. Looses its leaves in the winter and regrows them in the spring. We can be anchored and open to change. In fact, they support one-another.