I've always found the months of January and February a struggle. The dark nights and mornings sap my energy. It's hard to remain positive when post Christmas I'm usually short of cash and Spring and those long warm Summer days seem so far off.
In the past I've tried a few different things to lighten my mood, from taking vitamin D, to dry January to skiing (which is always amazing when you are there but less than amazing when you come home to cold damp England!) but nothing has really worked as well as my morning yoga practice.
Every morning before work I rise early to do a yoga practice which can be anything from 20 minutes to an hour (depending on the day and my other commitments).
I can't tell you how much I detest the alarm going off! I am so not a morning person, and it's so dark and cold and I just want to stay under the duvet. BUT I make myself get up and go to my mat.
Some days my practice feels blessed. I find the energy I need, my breath carries me through and my muscles feel light and I enjoy the practice. Other days I feel I have no energy, everything in my body feels heavy, my muscles feel stiff, I feel inflexible and I question my commitment to step on the yoga mat in the first place. Regardless of how my practice feels whilst I am doing it, afterwards I always feel better. I feel more open, the stiffness in my body after a nights sleep has gone and I feel energized and ready to take on the day. I find my concentration during the day is more focused and I feel less hungry (and subsequently eat less) than if I just roll out of bed and don't spend time on my yoga mat.
I see my morning yoga practice as a part of my morning routine. Just as I wouldn't go out of the house without cleaning my teeth or brushing my hair, I won't leave the house unless my yoga practice is done.
Some days it might literally be 5 minutes in my PJ's and even that short time where I am completely in the moment at one with my body and breath makes such a difference to the rest of my day.
Since starting my regular morning yoga practice I rarely feel the winter blues. I often drive to work and find myself admiring the frost on the fields or even the rain and the mist and I feel lucky to be alive with good health and surrounded by so much love and beauty.
The discipline to commit to a daily morning practice is not easy but if, like me you suffer from S.A.D do try and see if a daily yoga practice can help you get through the dark days of January and February.