OK, I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but I’ve noticed fewer of you on your mats this week. Yoga teacher friends have said the same. Life seems to go into some kind of crazy overdrive in November as we head towards that shopping bonanza known as Christmas. Workloads seem to spiral, at the same time as long out-of-touch friends suggest a reunion get together, giving reasons galore to skip that yoga class – and then that just once becomes twice …

So, take a DEEP breath, slow down

And find time for you and your yoga: It will help you look after your health, and keep body and soul in good shape to sail through whatever indulgences you have lined up over the festive season. 

Just when we are going through the big seasonal change from mild summer/early autumn to the wet and cold of winter - while our natural tendency should be to hibernate and conserve our store of inner resources - we are under pressure to step up the pace of life. In addition, it’s no coincidence that bugs and colds proliferate at this stressful time of year. Our internal body clock is striving to adjust to short, dull days with little sunlight and long hours of darkness. Sometimes, this struggle can leave our immune systems low, and for a few can even result in SAD, or seasonal depression.

How can yoga help?

Developing a regular exercise routine, ideally combined with relaxing and breathing, will help improve the way we feel at any time of year. But in particular, it has been suggested that yoga can affect the levels of certain hormones in the body such as melatonin (which helps make us feel sleepy) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter thought to contribute to our sense of well being).

So don’t save all those new year resolutions until January. Do more yoga now – and why not twice a week rather than just once!

If you want to read more about yoga and the connection between hormone levels and the seasons, see Yoga Journal 

This week’s class

If you are feeling tired after a long day, or battling it out in the shops, a chair can be a great prop to use. Just resting the back of the legs on a chair and relaxing is restorative in itself. In addition you can use a chair with a range of warm up movements. A reminder of what we practised in class this week is shown below.