Oh March, with your blustery winds, deceptively sunny-looking but polar bear-cold days and your demand for my precious sleep.
Daylight Saving Time.
Once upon a time, I lived for the extra light. Now I brace myself for the loss of cellular regeneration. It takes at least a week or two for my body to adjust, and in the meantime I'm a zombie-fied version of myself.
It's not just me. In 2013, Livescience.com reported a number of downfalls related to the "holiday:" increased heart attacks during the first three weekdays after our collective spring forward, more workplace injuries for those at physically demanding jobs and, less dangerously, increased cyberloafing during the first Monday after springing forward.
I've always wished we'd stop this clock-changing nonsense. But as the convention doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon, here are a few yogic ways to perk up if you're still dragging your tootsies around.
- Invert alert: Go upside down. Getting your head below your heart means fresh blood to your noggin and a reinvigorated approach to life. There are lots of ways to do this. The simplest: a forward fold. If you're feeling sluggish at your desk, stand and carefully fold forward, bringing your hands to rest on the ground, on your shins or even on a chair, depending on the flexibility of your hamstrings. Relax your head and neck and stay here as long as it feels good before carefully rising back up. Warning: You might experience some lightheadedness.
For those who are more daring and want an even juicier shot of get up and go, try a headstand or handstand. For safety's sake, don't try these unless you know what you're doing or have an experienced teacher to guide you through. But a couple of good kicks up the wall should equal a cup of coffee minus any unwanted effects of caffeine.
Even a downward facing dog, wide-legged forward bend or shoulder stand will do the trick.
- Breath of fire: Here's a surefire way to channel the Energizer Bunny and create some heat in your body. You can sit or lie down, as long as your spine remains long. Inhale while keeping your mouth closed and rhythmically exhale through the nose, one breath per second, allowing for passive inhales. Imagine the sounds of a panting dog. You can imitate that breath for a moment, with the mouth open, then shut the mouth and continue the quick exhales. If you get lightheaded, slow the breath and allow the feeling to pass. Work up to three rounds of 30 breaths. Follow each round with a deep inhale and exhale.
- Yoga nidra: That trickster Daylight Saving Time seriously messes with your circadian rhythms, which control hormones that affect moods, hunger and sleep. If they get thrown off balance, everything can go wonky. Nidra, also known as yogic sleep (though you're not technically supposed to fall asleep), can step in to relax and rejuvenate you. The guided meditation/visualization helps slow you down, converting your normally beta brain waves, an active and alert state of mind, into alpha waves, a more relaxed and passive state where health benefits can occur, such as reduced insomnia, stress, anxiety, digestive conditions and chronic pain. It can help lower blood pressure and boost your immune system. Pretty decent side effects, yes? You can find all sorts of nidras on YouTube, iTunes and other online platforms.