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Hello and Welcome to 2019

Support your digestive and immune systems.

Moving into sitting forward bend.

Hello and welcome to 2019!

I have to be honest, I am not big on new year resolutions! I’m never keen on the idea of becoming the “best me” or a “new me” which seems to imply that I am currently “old and inferior”. I prefer to focus on Budhhist monk Shunryu Suzuki’s words of wisdom … “You are perfect just as you are, and you can use a little improvement” 🙂

Of course I have things to work on! I spent plenty of time over the Christmas break thinking about what I would like to leave behind in 2018 and how I want 2019 to shape up, what I want to achieve. I like to make my goals stress free though, my body doesn’t respond well to pressure.

The new year is a time when we often put our bodies through rigorous diet changes and expect it to go from couch potato to Usain Bolt without complaint. I’m not convinced that this is the way to success! Perhaps it would be better to work with the energy of the seasons. Winter is a time for consolidation, a time for nurtuing and nourishing, not a time for punishing regimes that focus on lack (be that lack of food in our January diets, lack of funds, or a belief that we are in some way lacking as a person!). Mind and body will be much more responsive if we tune into this winter energy.

Here are my top 5 tips for supporting your beautiful Self this winter:

1. Ditch the cold, raw foods or drinks! No more salads. Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us that winter is a time for warm and grounding foods, comfort food in fact! Include plenty of cooked vegetables especially roots. Fill up with soups and stews, with plenty of warming spices. Honestly, your body will feel so much more nurtured, and because you won’t be hungry you’re more likely to stick to healthier food choices.

2. Make sure you are getting adequate rest and sleep. Our 24/7 culture doesn’t do much to encourage us to follow our natural rhythms. The dark nights are there to make sure that we get plenty of sleep. Take your cue from nature, be like the trees and plants that are resting, dormant in the earth, consolidating their energy ready to burst out in spring. If you are struggling to get to sleep speak to your tutor, we have lots of ideas for easing insomnia.

3. Building on the above tip, add into your daily routine regular relaxation time, and if possible some creative time too. This is not selfish! You have to keep topping up the well, otherwise it will drain to the bottom and then you’ve used up all your reserves – take it from one who learnt this lesson the hard way!

4. If you get run down and poorly, please please please take time to rest. Our body is very clever, one of the reasons we feel shivery with no energy when we get colds is to make us take time out to keep warm and rest – this way we give our adaptive immunity time to respond to the initial pathogen (this takes about 4 days), without risking catching a secondary infection (which we are more open to because our immune system is busy dealing with the first infection), plus we are not spreading our germs around. If we keep ignoring the signs our body is giving us to rest, it will keep coming back with stronger and stronger prompts!

5. Winter is the perfect time to start a meditation practice. Try this – light a candle (it gives you a focus, and if you do it each time the mind will recognise that candle time is quiet time) then just sit still, peacefully and be (not doing) for a few minutes. Do this every day for the month and I promise you’ll notice the difference. Yes, there will be chatter, that’s the way of the mind, but that’s ok, let the thoughts pass, don’t give them your energy. It will get easier and the spaces between the thoughts will become wider. Meditation allows us to strengthen our power of self will.

Here’s to a peaceful, happy and healthy 2019 for us all.

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