It's Blue Monday, a name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) reported to be the most depressing day of the year and the worst month for suicides.
If the winter is getting you down and you are feeling uninspired, grey, cold or in need of a little more light in your life, yoga is an excellent way to lift your spirits and remove any layers of fog.
Practice the following short sequence of yoga any time you want to shift those winter blues, feel more energised and kickstart your day.
This solar yoga sequence can be done any time and only takes about 10 minutes so why not give it a go!
Sitting cross legged, reach the arms out wide and up above the head until the palms touch, exhale lower the arms back down to your sides. Repeat five times and see if you can begin to lengthen the inhale with each breath. Breathe in for five counts as the arms lift and exhale as you lower. Breathe in for six counts as you lift the arms and exhale, then inhale for seven, and finally breathe in for eight counts and exhale as you lower the arms.
Inhale reach the arms high and interlace the fingers, press the palms away and continue to breathe deeply keeping the arms raised. Lengthen the inhale each time as before, starting with five counts and build it up to eight counts.
When you have finished, exhale as you lower the arms back down.
Come onto to all fours with the wrists under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Exhale as you bring the hips back towards the heels and inhale bring the hips forwards back up to all fours. Repeat this four more times, focussing on synchronising the movement and the breath.
Rest in childs pose for 5-10 deep slow breaths. Visualise releasing any tension with each exhalation and filling the body with light and energy with every inhalation.
Come back to all fours and tuck the toes under, lifting the hips into downward facing dog. Feel the movement of the navel draw back with each exhalation. Stay for five deep slow breaths. Feel the stretch through the hamstrings. Bend the knees if you need to.
Step the right foot forward to a lunge with the knee above the ankle and rest the hands on the front thigh. Lift the chest and tilt the hips, feeling a stretch through the hip flexors. Stay here as for five slow, deep breaths. If you feel balanced, reach the arms up alongside the ears and stay for another five breaths. Fill the lungs and emphasize the inhalation, feeling a sense of expansion.
Bring the hands to the floor and come back to all fours lifting back into downward facing dog. Stay for five breaths. Step the left foot forward coming to a lunge. Repeating the lunge with the other leg forward and raising the arms if you wish.
Come to sit tall, eyes closed with the palms together in front of the heart. Focus on your breath for a minute or so. Make your breathing deep, calm and slow. Take a moment to think of something that you feel grateful for or set the intention for your day with a positive word or phrase. Repeat this 'Sankalpa' three times and see yourself embodying these qualities.
Stay here as long as you want to until you feel ready to move back into your day.
Bow the head towards the heart, thankful for this time you have given yourself and slowly open the eyes, keeping the gaze soft.
Solar Yoga, Energise and Inspire with Tara Lee is now available from Amazon.
Tara Lee has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and teaching for 14 years. Tara teaches at The Life Centre in London.