For 121 days I have risen before the sun to practice yoga and meditation.  My cat, Big-Boy, is now bought into my daily sadhana.  If I am not awake by 5:30am he meows or scratches the headboard to wake me up; and, when I’m up and doing my yoga he sits near my yoga mat and waits for me. Perhaps I did not respond to his gentle wake-up behaviors this morning because at 5:34 he woke me by rustling and scratching at a Marshalls shopping bag.  In it, a new sweater for me and work out pants for my son.  It was my mistake to leave it on the floor in the foyer because when ever we leave crinkly bags lying around this 20 pound cat thinks it’s his liter box.  Yes, he peed on my brand new sweater. I will only make that mistake once.

As 2009 winds down and the days become shorter, darker and colder, here in the northeast USA, I find myself wanting to slow down and curl up anywhere the sun graces.  I feel squeezed, compressed and lazy.  It takes double the energy and heroic mental fortitude to get me out of the house.  I should know better.  I grew up in New Hampshire and learned that those winters when I felt the best were the ones where I got out in the weather nearly every day.

That is the secret – Allowing the cold to hit my flesh and taking great gulps of frozen air enables my body to adjust and thrive in the coldest season.  My blood thickens to protect me, my internal body chemistry makes the shifts so that I can survive.  Our bodies have been doing this for eons.  When I follow this simple perscription I feel more optimistic and energized and less inclined to turn the thermostat up.

As always, the answer lies in dissolving my resistance.  By letting down my guard and allowing in the cold.  Welcoming it with open arms.  I know the secret.  The question is, will I act on it?  Will I bundle up, slide a pair of gloves over cold fingers and tie up my Reeboks over reluctant feet?  Will I grumble and complain before opening the door? You bet. However, the reward will be a clear head, invigorated muscles. I will feel infinitely better.

Will I do it? Get out in the cold today? Will you?