Hello! And a warm wintry welcome to you!
I don’t know about you, but I was absolutely delighted to see the sunshine briefly today, albeit a little damp in the air.
I find it’s very easy to get “bogged down” by the weather at this time of year, especially when the brighter days of Spring and Summer still seem quite a way off. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, for short), then you will know exactly what I mean. The short, dark and miserable winter days can leave us feeling truly down in the dumps. And, before we know it, we’re suffering from a bad case of the Winter Blues!
So, I felt it was time to shout about how I’m dealing with it, & start blowing Yoga’s trumpet, once again (well, I am a little biased)! But seriously though, you too can overcome those Winter Blues once and for all – and this is appropriate for anyone, not just those going through menopause!
>>>Find out how yoga can help you can banish the (menopause) winter blues here<<<
As I write this post, we at Heart Yoga are a third of the way through our new series of Beginners’ Yoga for Menopause classes, designed to help you take control of your menopause symptoms by balancing your chakras (click on this link if you haven’t seen the previous post on this and would like to find out more).
Why is this relevant?
Well, in the same way that we can control menopause hormone fluctuations through our yoga practice, so can we control the hormones that affect our moods and emotions. Currently, we are balancing chakras to help us do this.
Physical exercise is scientifically proven
It’s common knowledge that exercising releases a group of hormones called endorphins – these are the feel-good hormones that help you to relax, thereby reducing stress and anxiety.
In addition, physical activity, such as yoga, will also stimulate the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin– the brain chemicals that help to regulate mood, depression and low-self-esteem.
There are plenty of research papers that can give you a more in-depth look at the benefits of exercise for combatting depression.
Here’s an easy-to-read article which summarises the benefits to our mental health from developing a regular exercise regime, including practices like yoga. It also stresses the importance of a healthy diet, along with spending time outside in nature and finding ways to relax.
And here are a few gentle postures you could try to boost your mood (with stick diagrams below if you’re unsure what they look like):
- Backbends, such as bow pose (dhanurasana), camel (ustrasana) and bridge (setu bandhasana)
- Legs up the wall (viparita karani), shoulder stand (salamba sarvangasana)
- Fish pose (matsyasana)
- Child’s pose (balasana)
- Tree pose (vrksasana)
- Various gentle twisting/revolving postures
As I say repeatedly in all my classes, if you don’t have much time to spare in your day, then the one posture that I recommend you do is Legs up the Wall (Viparita karani).
This relaxing pose can bring all the benefits of an inversion, including improved venous return (blood flow back to the heart), which reduces puffiness in the ankles etc. Spending 10 minutes in this position, and you can use bolsters (under the hips), cushions (under the shoulders) and blankets to make yourself super-comfy, will bring all the benefits of a full night’s sleep! Fact!
So, don’t just take my word for it…. go and try it for yourself!
Wishing you a “warm and sunny” weekend ahead, whatever the weather!
If you have any comments or queries, please don’t hesitate to connect below.
See you next time.
WITH LOVE & LIGHT