Top 10 cures for winter blues by Jane Clapham
Just in case all the snowy weather is getting to you – have courage! During the winter months it’s even more important than ever to keep up a regular practice of yoga – but even a few moments daily will help too. Here are my top 10 tips for a few nourishing treats which don’t cost the earth, but will help keep you feeling happy even when it’s cold outside again.
- Warm pyjamas. On a cold winter’s night there’s really nothing like putting your nightwear on a radiator before you slip into bed with your hot water bottle. Some luxuries are quite simple! Before bed, have a luxurious stretch using yoga movements which re-align the spine. You’ll find that you have a better night’s sleep and wake up more refreshed.
- One of my favourite cures for any type of bad weather is meditation. Just a few minutes of silent sitting daily, using Dru meditation techniques, make me feel glad to be alive. Try this rise and shine technique. When you wake up in the morning, completely relax your body for one minute, while you’re still lying in bed. Think of five things you’re really grateful for. Then gently sit up and wrap your duvet around you. Bring your attention to your breathing and let it get deeper without forcing it at all. Focus on your heart chakra and feel warmth spreading through your body as you breathe. Continue for five minutes, then stretch (ideally a Dru Yoga sequence!) and start your day.
- Visualise being Australian. When I’ve traveled in dry countries such as Australia or India, rain is seen in quite a different way than it is here. When I was out there teaching a couple of years ago, when there was a bad drought in the Antipodes, any drops of precipitation were greeting with celebration. I’ve found that just changing my attitude to the wet stuff can make life a little brighter.
- Surya namaskar. The ancient yogis really knew a thing or two about winter. I’ve found that a good flowing Dru sun sequence blows away all those winter cobwebs, brings a wonderful sense of energy and positivity to even the darkest morning. If you can’t remember all the movements, try the sequence yourself here.
- Do a Cleopatra. Nourish your skin and your soul with a warm milky bath. Add 1 tablespoon runny honey, 2 chamomile tea bags, a few drops of rose essential oil and a cup of milk to a running bath, then lie back and listen to some relaxing music for the ultimate spa experience at home! Your skin will feel nourished, along with your heart!
- Laughter. Get the endorphins flowing with your favourite funny movies – here at Dru we’re still debating the best list, but it must include The Man Who Knew Too Little, Mr Bean, Groundhog Day, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Airplane. Why not compile a list of your favorite five, and watch them all before the start of spring?
- Barley grass smoothie. If you get a really good boost of nutrients for breakfast, you’ll find the bad weather easier to deal with! Blend one banana, 3 tablespoons organic bio yogurt, ½ glass water, 1 teaspoon barley grass powder, 1 teaspoon omega oils. This also is great for the skin, fantastic for improving mood and contains nearly 3 portions of fruit and veg!
- Plan an uplifting retreat. Somehow, even thinking about a nice holiday can do wonders for your mood. In the middle of winter it can be therapeutic to plan a yoga or meditation retreat for later in the year Take a few moments to visualize your ideal break – by the sea, in the mountains or in beautiful natural surroundings. Imagine yourself walking, stretching, laughing – healthy, happy and feeling great. Just imagining it is the next best thing to actually booking a retreat!
- Have a good breakfast. It might sound like something your Mum might say, but having a substantial meal first thing really does make life seem much better. My current favourite is oat porridge with tahini and a spoonful of apricot and apple spread (well, you did ask!). If you put the porridge to soak the night before and it’ll cook really quickly in the morning. Add half a cup of organic porridge oats to 2 cups of cold water and ½ cup soya or rice milk, soak overnight and in the morning, bring to the boil, stirring until smooth.
- Buy yourself flowers. I’ve got a small bunch of tulips and daffodils in my living room and the whole atmosphere feels so much brighter. If you want an added feel-good factor – give some flowers to a friend – for no good reason. The inner glow you’ll get will warm the cockles of your heart.
Jane Clapham is a Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation teacher trainer, who started doing Dru Yoga at the tender age of 15 and hasn’t stopped since! Her background is Psychology, which she now applies in her meditation teaching and youth work. She’s fascinated by what makes people tick, and how easy it is to change from being stressed, into being relaxed and focussed. She now teaches Dru yoga, meditation and sound courses in the UK, Europe, India and Australia. She runs Meditation teacher training courses in Snowdonia, Wales as well as meditation retreats worldwide.
Jane is passionate about sharing yoga and meditation with everyone, young and old alike, and developed Dru kids – the Dru Yoga programme to train yoga teachers to teach young people. She also teaches Dru Yoga and wellbeing in the workplace, and recently has had great results helping factory workers to increase their energy levels and banish back pain and stress.