It's February, not my favourite month, and I'm trying to find ways to generate warmth from within, to establish an inner glow. It might look dark and dismal outside but there are ways to put some sunshine into your life and to spark your inner fire. In winter we all go into hibernation mode, but if you find yourself struggling to stay warm and craving heat you might want to look into what you are eating and how you are exercising. According to both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine eating foods with the correct energetic properties in the right season will help your body . It is particularly important to make the right food choices in the depths of winter. For example, cucumbers, yoghurts, salads, and raw foods are known to have cooling effects so it is best to steer away from these and any cold food or drinks during the winter. However adding cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic and ginger to warm dishes will spice up your food and ensure you feel toasty from the inside out. Of course these would be best left on the shelf during hot summer days.
Nature is perfect at providing us with the correct seasonal foods to eat but unfortunately we have lost her expert lead as imported foods bring us unrestricted choice all year round. Exercising is another good way to build heat. It may be a good idea to look at the type of exercise you are doing and whether you vary your routine during the winter months to generate some extra heat. For example certain yoga styles and exercises are geared towards building heat whilst others are more relaxing and cooling. It may not be so wise to be sweating in a dynamic or Bikram yoga (hot room) class during the heat of the summer but may be just what's needed to get the engine going in the winter. Practicing fire type yoga breathing exercises such as Kapalabhati will not only increase inner heat but also help clear the mind (shining skull breathing), and abdominal exercises stoke the digestive fire and can help activate the manipura chakra (seat of fire) or centre of energy at the navel centre increasing will power and self confidence . If you are feeling sluggish and tired a bit of fire in your yoga practice will help transform, inspire and motivate you helping to banish those winter blues.
Here is a clip from my fire yoga DVD, the third in ‘the Elements of Yoga' series
A registered senior teacher with Yoga Alliance UK, Tara can be seen regularly on the Sky TV channel, Body in Balance and has been placed by the Evening Standard as one of the top 5 teachers in the UK today. She teaches dynamic yoga, pregnancy yoga and post natal yoga and boasts a loyal celebrity following including Sara Parker Bowles, Laura Parker Bowles, Cat Deeley and Laura Bailey. Tara's “Elements of Yoga” DVD series is available from Amazon.co.uk.