As we move into Autumn/Winter and the days become cooler and shorter, it is not unusual for our bodies to feel as stiff as the Tin Man. But why?
When the ambient temperature plummets the disparity between our core temperature (sitting at 37 degrees) and the external temperature increases. Science says this disparity inhibits circulation; muscle and fascia become difficult to lengthen, stretch and move because their elastic properties are inhibited - just like an elastic band in the freezer; plus our pain receptors become more sensitive! What to do? Move, Warm, Mix It Up & DON’T STRESS.
- Move- It’s a simple strategy. Commit to get to your mat everyday (or as much as your schedule permits and then add a few). Yoga was intelligently designed to be a daily practice, it moves the blood to those stiff muscles, warms the synovial fluid at those creaky joints, opens the shoulders and hip flexors that start to cocoon in the cool, and provides a thorough well-rounded balance of strength and mobility which can also build the immune system.
- Warm-up- In the cooler months, it takes longer to generate internal heat into your body, so get to your mat a little earlier and as you start to settle your mind for the practice, start to gently hug the knees to your chest, slowly unravel into a Downward dog to supple the spine and hamstrings and progress into a happy baby to open the hips. The emphasis is on SLOW & longer warm-ups translate into better body mechanics for any exercise. Then Warm-Down. Whilst your muscles have already started to cool slowly towards the class end and Savasana, before you transition outside remember to cover up and dry any sweat, as it’s easier to catch a chill with moisture on the skin.
- Mix Your Flows- Ayurveda and TCM believe that the wise should live in harmony with the natural cycles of the seasons. The cooler months are a time to slow down and nourish the body and mind, replenish energy and conserve strength. Effective THURSDAY 28 APRIL, we have changed the timetable to reflect the changing seasons, to make it easier for you to reduce your pace, stretch and open.
- DON’T STRESS- Stress depletes the immune system and is the cause of numerous illnesses. The cool lures us inside, traps us into the easiness of hibernation and we seek to null our stress with couch/TV time, hot drinks/comfort food/bevies. Be sure to schedule in your mat time and commit to make your yoga practice. Not only does moving, stretching and sweating combat stress, yoga class can be your moving meditation and provide a sense of reason and calm in otherwise frantic lifestyles.