Massive thank you to Hayley Johns — yoga teacher, original Urban Witch crew and guest blogger this week. She rocks. Nuff said.
The lovely Katie kindly asked me to write her Samhain blog post as a guest, she knows I love this time of year. Definitely, one of my favourite holidays. Now, I do love to party, especially when there is a bonfire involved, but I thought I might talk about what happens after the pumpkin starts to droop!
Unlike some, I actually get excited by the prospect of the darker nights that come, following the 31st October. I do not begrudge the Winter, for I see it for what it is, rather than an endurance race back to the glory of high Summer, hunkering down and battling on, with my coat pulled up and my hat pulled down. I instead look at it as a time of deep nurture and protection. I look forward to coming back indoors, being able to light the fires and set my home aglow with candles. Eating slow food, sleeping more and fattening up. It is a time, or almost non-time, where we get to stop.
From the 31st up to the 21st December, everything gets to sink back; me in to the couch with a blanket, some animals in to hibernation and the vegetation in the earth.
Ok, I am fully aware, I can’t stay holed up on the couch until Spring. Yes, we gotta work, we gotta care, we gotta feed. But having an awareness (that all important word) of the shifting rhythms of the year is a deeply empowering thing, even when we are living in cities. Looking at the world through the lens of sustainability even when looking at ourselves.
Whatever we take, we have to put back in. Whether, it’s our expended energy of Summer or nutrients from the earth. This ability to move to a more closed loop system, whether that is the way we feed ourselves, treat ourselves and our community.
I have a yoga class on my schedule that operates a little differently from the rest, something that was all the rage a little while ago, a Donation class. We’ve been running it about six years now and the idea is that people pay what they can. The many nourish the few that can’t pay, the busy times sustain me financially and the cost of the space we rent when times are leaner. There is space in that class where my students share, retreat, replenish their own energetic bank account and expend them when the time is right. It is to date, my most popular and my most SUSTAINABLE endeavour. It’s scary putting it out there like that. I know. But, it’s like it has it’s own energetic flow, just like that loop, the wheel of the year, just like us.
So this time, this non-time, from here until 21st December, when our light returns, let the dark nights spark your imagination, in this rest time, focus on what you might need to replenish. Physically, emotionally and energetically. Where in your life might you need to aerate your soil and fertilise! Or even plant some new seeds, that you can sustain through the frost and let bloom come Summer.
Hayley’s donation class is every Monday at 7pm, URC Church Hall, Walthamstow, London.
For details and more classes see hayleyyoga.com