I live in a place blessed with Winter. Winter is an excellent teacher. Subtle changes arrive in the Autumn heralding the pending weather change and we begin our preparations.

Winter’s lessons are many. When we are outdoors, our exhalations turn to elegant white feather plumes of steam. Notice! Observe! Be aware, winter teaches. Practice mindfulness.

Breath and winter. We can see our rate of breath. We can see our length of breath. We can feel the coolness of the air entering our body. We can feel the warm moist breath as it leaves.

I recall one day in late autumn/early winter. It was the end of a long day of classes and I was waiting for the bus on Winnipeg’s Portage Avenue. During the day, winter arrived with a plummet in temperature. A group of students from a tropical country were standing with us. We were chatting and one man became alarmed.  We struggled to understand his sudden distress. What was wrong?

He noticed our breath. The steams of breath left our bodies and were whisked away on the frosty wind. And so did his breath. This was new and it frightened him. His upbringing connected breath to soul. He feared he was losing his spirit. We soothed him as best we could.

He noticed something we had grown up knowing. He was aware.

We are blessed with endless opportunities for Mindfulness. “Take your yoga off the mat,” I urge my students at the end of yoga class. Breathing in, breathing out. Notice. Be aware. Be mindful.