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Less sunlight and colder weather can affect our sleep patterns. Just like we adapt to the season with winter gear, indoor exercise, and a changed diet, how we sleep in the winter months is important to holistic health.
“If your nervous system is already overstimulated and depleted, seasonal changes can trigger anxiety, depression, and increased stress,” says holistic life coach and co-owner Elli Richter. Meditation can be an integral part of calming down, re-centering, and finding more joy and clarity. Try this visualization meditation for a few minutes at any time of the day: Find a comfortable resting position, close your eyes, and take three deep breaths. Next, inhale to the count of four, and exhale to the count of six. Visualize a bright sun far above your head, and sense its warm light washing down on you like a gentle shower. Continue for at least three breaths. On each exhalation, feel any tension you are carrying begin to release and dissolve into the earth beneath you.
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Lavender-Sesame Foot Rub
Raw sesame oil is known in the Ayurvedic tradition for its calming and grounding effects. Rubbing it on your feet before bed can help relax your body and calm your mind, allowing for a deep and restful night’s sleep, Richter says. “I love warming the oil slightly and adding lavender before massaging it in,” she says. Try it: In a saucepan, warm one-quarter cup organic sesame oil over medium-low heat for three minutes. Add three drops of organic lavender essential oil—a scent that research suggests can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Slowly and mindfully massage the oil into the bottoms of your feet. Richter recommends sleeping with socks on after applying the oil to help maximize absorption and keep it from staining your sheets.
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Limited sunshine and outdoor activity can take a toll on your mindset and mood this season. The staff at Still Soul Studio recommends starting each day with a gratitude practice for an instant boost. In your morning meditation practice ask, “What are three things I appreciate right now?” Then, do your best to really feel the gratitude in your body, accessing feelings of love, peace, and appreciation. You can also put a journal next to your cushion and jot down your answers. Start each sentence with “I am so grateful for…” Now ask yourself, “What was my favorite part of the last 24 to 48 hours? How did I feel? Can I feel that one more time and give thanks?” This helps you become more self-aware, Richter says.
website: stillsoulstudio.com | instagram: @stillsoulstudio | class rates: $18 for drop-in
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