Christmas in the 21st century can seem all about shopping, decorations and TV, but inside, it’s all systems on heat and protection as we move into the coldest months of the year.
How can we ensure this festive time keeps us strong into January and February, instead of crippling our resources when we need them most?
It is always good to remember that Christmas for our fore-mothers and fore-fathers was always a time to see in the winter and prepare for the colder months to come. A huge difference between then and now is the availability of the food itself.
When we relied on what the land gave us – or later what we grew and raised – every calorie was precious, especially those from fat, the best compact source of energy to see you through the winter.
Now calories are all too abundant and living in centrally heated homes, we have removed the need to produce as much body heat from fat.
The motivation of a feast at the height of winter no longer fits with the way we...
With so much emphasis on what to eat, the how can get rather left behind, but the full process of digestion – breaking down and absorbing food – demands as much calm and mindfulness as any aspect of our yoga practice. When this is compromised, partially digested food in the gut can cause gas, bloating and contribute to IBS symptoms.
Time, stress and habit often see us bolting food or eating on the go without much thought. Optimal digestion needs energy resources fully directed to the gut and any movement quickly reroutes it out to the muscle; including just standing and using postural muscles. Stress also sends a signal to prepare for protective physical movement and again, muscle wins out. We feel a tense body, often including gripping and tightness in the belly as digestive processes are halted. Our digestive tract has nervous system activity of its own and you really can trust ‘gut feelings’ as a measure of stress.
It is the parasympathetic or calming and...