How can it be this time of year again? When the clocks are turned back and we are all saying to each other how dark it is, how cold we are, how hard it is to get out of bed?
When the clocks change, of course, we have the small victory of an extra hour in bed. For William Willett, the 18th century father of daylight saving time in Britain, it was all about getting more light and, therefore, more farming time out of the day.
For the modern citizen living in a world filled with demands, distractions and general 'hectic-ness', the longer, darker evenings that lie ahead, just heighten our desire to hibernate. Unfortunately, our lives cannot stop just because it's dark and cold.
You may have worked hard during the warmer months to live healthier and actively and so it requires more effort and willpower to keep going, especially as the hot chocolate, steamy puddings and cosy evenings beckon.
So, how can we take a leaf out of Willett's book and get more out of the day in the 21st Century?
As a teacher and practitioner of yoga I do this by relying even more on one of the key benefits of yoga - to create and reserve energy - and have tried to answer these annual popular questions with this in mind.
It's cold, I don't want to get out of bed. What do I do?
Small, simple movements can wake-up the body after a night's sleep. With your back on the mattress, your knees bent and feet flat on your bed, the easy movement of your knees from side to side is an incredibly good limber up before you get up.
Even hanging your arm down the side of the bed and stretching, which can seem like nothing, can really open up your shoulders and enhance your breathing.
Do I have to stop eating pudding?
Having an indulgence is OK if you remain active. This is where an activity like hot yoga can really help keep calories in check and stop sluggishness from over consumption kicking in.
Hot yoga poses done in studios heated up to 42˚C, makes for an ideal environment to manage your weight. Some 600-900 calories are burnt in each session and this combined with increased flexibility and clearing of the mind will keep your body conditioned and the winter blues at bay.
How can I turn lethargy into energy
Movement in yoga is wonderful for distributing energy and warmth to all areas of the body. Simple moves can release tightness, especially if you are sitting at a desk, in front of a computer all day and the breathing used in yoga can push out sluggish energy we build up from spending too much time indoors, away from nature.
Why can't I get focussed?
I find that winter can put some of us in a rut. We go to work, rush back to the comfort of our homes, eat and sit in front of the television until it's time for bed. For those with kids, the evenings are even shorter. Perhaps instead of television, take a short amount of time out of the evening, to just sit quietly and focus on clearing the mind.
Meditation allows you to bring energy to the mind, helps put mistakes of the day behind us and gives us headspace to bring fresh ideas to life.
New Year's resolutions are so last year
Many of us have a tendency to wait for January to kick-off new ideas, get rid of bad habits and start afresh, but this time of year is ideal for giving us a head start. If fitness is your thing, then yoga is an 'indoor sport' that delivers on so many levels. It allows us to focus on and strengthen ourselves - our bodies and our minds.
So, you see, autumn and winter can in fact be times of rejuvenation, we just need to take the opportunities the present themselves and make use of the time we have, whatever the hands on the clock say.
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