The changing of seasons is not just about weather, and soup versus salads… it is about changing perspectives, and nurturing (or hibernating) certain aspects of our lives.
Spring is about embarking on new adventures; look around you in the springtime and see all the baby animals being born and the new adventures about to take place. In summer, we embrace the sunshine and live life to the fullest – we’re outdoors more often and are usually busy packing our social schedules to make the most out of the season. Autumn sees most of us tending to enjoy the fruits of our family and friends by nurturing these relationships before we go inwards during winter.
Winter is our quiet time. The time for resting and replenishing our internal resources, for reflecting on where we are and what we have done. All of this in preparation for the next new project we will embark on during the spring time. And the cycle continues.
So we are in winter now and your body is naturally programmed to want to sleep a little more, eat a little less and conserve a little more energy. So what can you do outside the kitchen to keep you and your family well this winter?
You are no doubt aware of at least some of the benefits of meditation. But did you realise that meditation during winter brings with it a natural tendency for self-reflection and going within? By beginning or continuing your meditation in winter, you are better able to slow down, relieve some stress and reflect on how you want to live in this crazy, busy world. Meditation can aid rest and relaxation and can help keep anxiety and depression at bay. Sounds good, right?
But often we are too busy to meditate. And with these winter days being shorter and the gravitational pull of a warm blanket in front of the TV difficult to resist, it can be challenging to actually put it into practice. But there are ways to implement meditation in as little as 3 minutes every day by incorporating mindfulness into your routine.
A little known element to wellbeing is grounding. And not the ‘visualisation’ type of grounding, but the physical ‘earthing’ kind. Quite simply, humans are meant to be in contact with the earth. Grounding (simply being in contact with the ground) has an enormous positive impact on your wellbeing as evident in an extensive body of research. Benefits include:
Just like consuming antioxidants in your fresh produce, negative electrons from the earth negate the effect of free radicals – positive electrons arising from electromagnetic waves such as wi-fi, microwaves, mobile phones and the like. The earth is a constant supply of these wonderful negative electron.
Our modern lifestyle does not make it easy to ground ourselves each day over winter. During summer, it is easier to incidentally ground yourself by sitting on the grass in a park, walking barefoot to your letterbox, swimming at the beach or river or just sitting out in the sun with bare feet. But in wintertime, we need to be more proactive with our exposure to the earth. The advantage is that grounding is more effective with wet surfaces, so grounding outside on wet grass, sand or dirt doesn’t need to take quite as long in winter.
So there you have it! My two, very easy, (completely free) tips for remaining well this winter that don’t involve your kitchen at all. Take advantage of the season that is all about going within, and connect with yourself and the earth daily to reap the rewards as we head toward springtime.
Written by Phillipa Huynh. Phillipa is a kinesiologist working at Prana House who teaches you how to make your life ‘fit’ again. Previously working for 12 years in the corporate world, Phillipa knows all too well how stress can affect you and works with you to give you the tools to face life’s challenges head on and bring about a sense of balance. Phillipa also loves teaching you how to integrate meditation into your day seamlessly. You can contact Phillipa by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
As the weather becomes colder our nutritional requirements, energy and mood may naturally change with the season. If you dread the winter months, the following tips may help you adapt and embrace the opportunities.
1. Eat Seasonally
As the weather changes, just like our ancestors did, we alter change the way we eat. This not only reflects our bodies nutrient and energy requirements, but seasonal eating is also better for the environment as we can eat local produce. At this time of year this means consuming warming, grounding foods that fill us up and prevent cravings. Rather than going for refined carbs such as bread for comfort, swap light cold foods for grounding warm options such as roast root vegetables and warming herbs and spices. Don’t want to give up your daily green juices? Warm up your fresh summer drinks with ginger- this is an excellent winter remedy that improves circulation and can assist digestion.
2. Boost your mood
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression associated with winter. While this can be a serious issue for some, it is not uncommon to feel a little blue when the days are grey. This can impact not only our mood, but our energy, social lives and nutritional choices.
Luckily there are many natural remedies available that help address low mood in winter. You should always seek professional help if you have clinical depression, however if your mood and energy simply need a boost you have a lot of options.
There are many herbals that can be professionally prescribed and it is always a great choice to include a good quality B-multi. This can address mood, improve digestion and support your liver.
3. Keep Moving
If your exercise levels seem to drop off a bit in winter and you feel sluggish and uninspired, you are not alone. But cold weather is no excuse! It just means it’s time to change your routine around. If you enjoy outdoor exercise this may be little more challenging, but it can be helpful to try new options, and listen to what your body needs. This may be more gentle exercise and less intense cardio. In case you’re concerned, studies have shown regular, gentle exercise such as yoga, walking and pilates have benefits for weight loss or control, and for cardiovascular health, not to mention the amazing effect on mood and stress levels!
You may also try exercising at a different time, in accordance with your energy levels and the shorter days. See if you can find a friend to make you accountable despite the weather (and have an undercover/ indoor backup). My dog never minds if it is cold or rainy, so that leaves no excuse- rug up, grab or borrow a furry friend, and get out there and forget about the cold!
4. Keep hydrated and improve your circulation
In the cooler months it is natural not to feel as thirsty, but it is still essential to keep hydrated. If cold water isn’t appealing, now is the perfect time to introduce herbal teas, which can not only taste delicious but also provide medicinal benefits. Be sure to use the loose leaves not just teabags, unless you are just aiming for flavour. Herbal teas need to be strong to have a therapeutic action. You can boost circulation to cold hands with rosemary, which has a pleasant side effect of improving cognition, or circulation to your digestive system with ginger, which combines well with lemon as a gentle morning detox or immune support.
5. Boost your immunity!
There are a number of natural supplements you can use to treat colds and flu, but just like any aspect of health- prevention is always better than cure. In the winter months ensure you are eating protein with every meal as this plays a role in immunity. If you don’t get much sunlight, ask your doctor about vitamin D testing, as supplementation may be required to boost immunity.
If you do feel a fever coming on, be aware that this is your body’s natural way of fighting pathogens. So instead of suppressing this, you might like to support your fever with the old naturopathic favourite, YEP tea. This herbal blend of yarrow, elder and peppermint, plus rest and home-made soup is a great path to recovery.
Written by Erika Wiseman. Erika is an experienced Naturopath who has recently joined the wellness team at Prana House. Erika can assist you with your winter health requirements and can be contacted at: email@example.com. Her consulting hours have just changed to Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings.
Julie Gargano is the original founding director of Prana House, creator of Pranaa Yoga, pioneer of Amrit Yoga & Amrit Method Yoga Nidra in Australia (USA), director & principle teacher trainer of Prana House Yoga Teacher Training, Level 3 Senior Yoga Teacher (Yoga Australia), visionary, artist and transformation facilitator with over 20 years of experience in the yoga & wellness industry.
Julie has an extensive background in body, mind & spirit which include professional ballet dancer, violinist, spiritual healer, yoga & meditation teacher. Julie has trained in Australia and the USA in variety of disciplines including Iyengar Yoga, Amrit Yoga, Amrit Method Yoga Nidra, Pranic Healing, Arhatic Yoga & Access Consciousness.
With such a wealth of knowledge and experience behind her, Julie has a flawless understanding of what it means to practice yoga and where that practice can take you.
In the featured video, Julie explains where to begin if you’re new to yoga and are curious about the many different styles and where they can take you. We often hear friends say that they are hesitant to try yoga, especially when Instagram seems to be saturated with people standing on their heads and doing all kinds of strange movements! At Prana House, we offer students a safe and supportive environment to learn and ask questions as they begin to explore the many realms of yoga that we offer. From beginner courses to casual classes, Prana House goes those extra lengths to nurture our students and guide them every step of the way.
Click the Play button below to hear more, and visit our website to inquire.
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What is unique about the Prana House Yoga Teacher Trainings?
Founding Director of Prana House, Julie Gargano, explains the essence of Prana House Yoga and why our program is the best option for aspiring teachers who want to tap into their energy and reach their inner potential.
“What’s unique about Prana House Yoga Teacher Training and Amrit Yoga Teacher Training, is our attention to energy, and energy is a language. Not many of us are taught this language, but…why not?” asks Julie.
Pranaa Yoga is the culmination of Julie’s 20 plus years of dedicated, in-depth study & practice of yoga, meditation, energy-healing and self-inquiry. It strives to provide a seamless balance between dynamic, powerful and detailed posture work, and meditative awareness and energetic connection. This makes space for states of deeply absorbing inner stillness.
Pranaa Yoga is holistic in its approach to body movement, incorporating posture work that is slow and detailed, along with movement that is smooth, fluid, and dynamic. The underpinning component is the consciousness that meets each pose, regardless of the form practised. Movement becomes a meditative flow, anchored by breath, consciousness and energy. There is a purposeful focus, bringing ease and grace, breath and energy, form and formlessness, together. Each practice begins with opening meditation, chanting and connection, creating a clear intention for the many layers of the self to unfold throughout the practice.
To see the practice unfold, click on the video below and enjoy!