I think of January and February as the dark times. It feels like it’s been winter forever, yet spring is not yet around the corner. The days are still short and everybody seems to be getting grumpy. When I find myself spending my day just surviving and wasting time until Spring, I know it is time to take some steps to start living in the here and now again.

So how do we wake ourselves back up to living life fully? We begin by remembering that we have an inner light that we can access at any time. So when the darkness begins to overtake us, we pause, soften, and connect to that light.

Then we enjoy the special treats that are especially blissful when it’s cold out. Be fully present and appreciate the moment as you cuddle with loved ones. Savor every sip as you drink hot tea. Feel all the sensations of your body in a warm bath.

We can also take advantage of the fact that this time of year is ripe for introspection. Our hectic lives have slowed for a moment, so seize that moment and get to know yourself a little better. Start a journal. Go to a meditation group. Try a gentle yoga class or practice to explore your own subtleties. Read those inpiring books you’ve been meaning to get to.

Since the cold tends to dampen our inner fire, or tapas, there are several things we can do to keep our practice strong. Take a workshop to re-ignite your passion and excitement about your yoga practice. Do yoga regularly at home or commit to a series of classes to practice discipline. Include warming pranayama into your practice such as kapalabhati (breath of fire) and kumbhaka (breath retentions).

Remember that it is your inner light and your decision to let it shine that inspires others to do the same. The more you connect back to your own goodness, the easier it will be to access it during difficult times. Throughout the day, take time to pause and connect whenever you have a moment (or even if you think you don’t). All it takes is one breath. Enjoy.