Ah, there is nothing like winter in Ottawa. So far, this winter, not only have we repeatedly been the coldest capital on the planet (not the contest one wants to win), many days it has actually been colder here than it is on Mars. I always heard one couldn’t actually live on Mars, but yet here we are.
Now I am an outdoor girl. I grew up in the Ottawa Valley with an outdoor rink, lots of snow and a wind-whipped bus stop, but I will be honest, when that mercury drops below a certain temperature I do not want to leave my cozy house for anything. Our winter is even more draggy as the days when the sun shines it is cold enough to take your breath away, and the more livable, milder days are grey, damp and dreary. And then if you are like me, you obsessively check the Weather Network who is always trying to incite our panic.
I realize it is hard to salute the sun when there doesn’t appear to be one for days, or it teases you by shining through your window and then laughs in your face if you step out the door without a balaclava. But the fact is we do better when we are active and when we get outdoors. Both practicing yoga and being outside fights depression, stress and the winter blues.
Nevertheless, it can take serious energy and willpower to put on your snow pants, but, most of the time yoga can give that to you. The wellness benefits of simply doing five sun salutations (or half-sun salutations) are too numerous to list here, but three great ones that Surya Namaskar literally warm you up while increasing your energy and motivation, often enough to find your toque and mitts.
Even better, just as yoga begets yoga; going outdoors gets easier and more desirable the more you do it. And the more you do it, both yoga and getting out, the happier and healthier you get. These Canadian winters are long, we might as well enjoy them.
In all seriousness for a moment, mental health is a real issue, that affects all of us. And while I truly believe that yoga has a magic that cures many things, there can be times in one’s life that more is needed and there is absolutely no shame in that. We are all worthy. Namaste.
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