When Spring and Summer come around you can feel the amazing energy around you and see the happiness in people’s faces. It’s not exactly the case when we move into Fall and Winter. Most of us will feel the effects of the change in season and there are others who suffer more intensely from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression associated with late autumn and winter and can affect people in many ways.
As we move into Fall we notice the sun rises later and sets earlier, there is a major decrease in sunlight. The change in sunlight affects our bodies natural circadian rhythm which is what tells our bodies when we should be going to sleep and waking up. When our sleep is affected, so are our minds and bodies. Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that affects our mood. If you experience a lack of sunlight you may also experience a decrease in serotonin levels causing you to be irritable and moody. Sound familiar?
During this change in season you may notice yourself feeling really tired, sad or even depressed. I find when the temperature drops and it gets colder outside a lot of us become less social. Wanting to stay home and curl up on the couch is much more desirable than getting dressed up and going out. This is absolutely fine sometimes, but although we want to hibernate we have to remind ourselves that we are not bears. Getting up and staying active is important.
Considering I’m a yoga teacher my advice for any and every problem is to do more yoga, lol! This case is no different. Now I must introduce the next best thing to sleep itself…. Restorative yoga! Imagine laying on your yoga mat propped up with pillows and covered with a blanket. I know what you’re thinking. Ummmm don’t mind if I do. Restorative yoga is offered at most studios and is a must for this time of year. It’s a way to open and stretch your body, connect with your breath, all while staying completely comfortable and cozy. There is not much effort involved with this practice. Postures are usually held a lot longer (5-10 minutes) to allow your body to settle and relax and are also done seated or laying down.
Restorative yoga can help sooth our nervous systems and allows us to release a lot of stress and tension in the body. You’ll notice a sense of deep relaxation through your entire body during the practice. Not only does restorative yoga treat our bodies it helps to quiet and still the mind and can actually enhance our mood. If you already enjoy this practice, keep at it! If you’ve never explored the restorative yoga world now is the time. It’s only going to become colder and darker outside so make sure you stay warm and cozy and leave the house everyone once in a while!