Friday, July 24, 2015

Enduring Winter

Is it just me or does the Sydney Winter seem colder than previous years and bitterly so? It probably doesn't help that we live in a Federation double-brick house without any air conditioning, working fireplaces or insulation. During the day it can be warmer outside than inside. The trouble is, all I want to do is hibernate, curl up in front of a fire, enjoy comforting foods, and do nothing.
So how do I fire myself up and get things done?

With great difficulties!

June has gone, my energy feels depleted and I feel ‘blah’! I have a couple of classes that run only during school terms so I spent the school holidays regathering my thoughts, resting and trying to establish some practices to get me through the rest of Winter.

I'm aiming to get back in touch with my body. Winter is a natural time to hibernate and for spiritual growth, a time to turn inwards, rest, and restore our energy.

So, what's the plan?

  • Rest

    Many yogis start the day at dawn and, the yoga retreats and conferences I've attended also start early. Dawn and dusk are considered the ‘stiller’ times of the day and perfect for yoga. In terms of practising yoga, dawn tends to be more achievable for me because, once I get entangled in the day's tasks, it is harder to find time at dusk.

    Although I love practising early in the morning, teaching evening classes and having dinner around 9:00-9:30pm means I'm late getting to bed and too tired to get up. I need to accept this.

    So instead of trying to get up pre-dawn I'm aiming for eight hours of sleep each night and setting my alarm to try and bring my body back into sync with the sun. I hate getting up late and having a breakfast that is practically lunch. It feels like most of the day has gone. And then to fit in all the things I want to do I stay up late, can't get up in the morning, and the cycle of late nights and mornings continues.

  • Establish a daily routine

    In the ashram everything runs to a schedule. The ‘theory’ is that a schedule brings ease to the body and mind (although I wonder if we lose a sense of spontaneity). Personally, a schedule helps keep me on track although, being self-employed, I find I'm continually rearranging my times to fit with the unexpected things that life decides to throw my way.

    What do I schedule? Breaks for meals and meditation, and the end of the day when I need to start cooking dinner or preparing for an evening class.

    But I also want to establish a morning and evening routine - the morning routine to get me going and start the day right, the evening routine to help me wind down and sleep.

    For the morning, I've been trying to implement a version of Matthew Toren's 24-minute morning routine without much success. It has been so cold that instead of tumbling out of bed I spend a half hour under the covers surfing the web.

    The evening routine? What evening routine? That's still a work in progress.

  • Exercise

    This is a no-brainer. I need to increase the amount of exercise I do, particularly cardiovascular exercise.

    My friend and I have resumed our somewhat regular, weekly walk but that isn't enough.

    I do some of the practices in the classes I teach, mainly to demonstrate a pose or sequence, but do not get much exercise outside of those classes. I use to do a yoga and a Pilates class each week, sometimes two yoga classes. However, since my friend, a Pilates teacher, returned to England I have only being doing one class. I've started going back to Japanese Therapy Yoga classes for the first time in about six months so *fingers crossed* I have my second class.

    I always feel good after a walk or yoga class, and if I can catch some sun at the same time, my mood immediately lifts.

  • Cook and eat nourishing food

    Hubby is one of those people who can eat salad all year whereas I find cold salads unappealing and hard to digest in Winter. Instead, I want warm, comforting food and crave the sweet and fatty.

    So I find myself preparing ‘warm vegetable’ salads and vegetable stir fries; baking breads; and cooking soups, noodles and pasta. If possible I'll throw as many vegetables as possible into the dish instead of having the vegetables on the side. Every 2-3 weeks I spend a Sunday afternoon preparing sides and cooking meals for the following weeks.

    To curb my cravings I'm trying to stick with Winter fruits like sweet mandarins and kiwifruit. Problem is I tire easily of particular fruits. I was enjoying dates for a while but have had a large container of dates sitting on the counter for a couple of weeks that I had planned to make into bliss balls and haven't.

  • Establish a support network

    It helps if there is someone else working through the same routines as you do. My walking buddy and I have been walking together on and off since we met on a project almost a decade ago.

    My weekly yoga class is not only a chance to practise and find inspiration for the classes I teach, but it is also a chance to catch up with yogi friends for a chat and coffee afterwards.

    My newest ‘obsession’ are photo challenges on Instagram. I participated in April Love 2015 and met so many inspirational and supportive people. I'm currently participating in the #bewellinwinter challenge being run by Sangha Sisters. The challenge prompts us to not only photograph what we are doing to keep well this Winter, but also to think about aspects of our health to ensure that we stay well. And again, it lets me tap into another inspirational and supportive community who have the same aims and interests that I do.

So that's the plan. Now I just need to implement it. Wish me luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for posts older than 14 days will not immediately display. These comments are reviewed before they are published for public display.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...