When the darkness of winter darkens your mood, you may get mood swings, feel mentally and physically drained as well as fatigued. It’s thought that some people’s bodies can’t properly adjust their internal clocks to winter’s shorter days. This has been closely linked with the body’s increased production of melatonin, which can make us feel sleepy, or its decreased production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s thought to contribute to feelings of well-being.
This is because our body depends on a tiny gland called the pineal gland which is located near the centre of the brain. The pineal gland reacts to bright light to produce melatonin, a serotonin derivative that controls our sleep/wake cycles. Melatonin is not only important for healthy cell growth, but it also affects the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol and is important for its effects on our mood, immune function, circadian rhythms, and the quality and quantity of our sleep. High melatonin levels reduce cortisol, allowing us to sleep at night while low melatonin levels increase cortisol, causing anxiety and can disrupt our sleep patterns.
The production of melatonin by the pineal gland is activated by darkness and inhibited by light. Once released, melatonin circulates through the brain and enters nearby blood vessels for distribution to the rest of the body. When melatonin levels are disrupted, people can experience mood swings, depression, and seasonal disorders.
Therefore, the pineal gland plays an important role in mental, physical, and physical health especially in the winter time. Given its important role, it is not surprising that a healthy, activated pineal gland has been connected with yoga and meditation. 😍🙏😍
The good news is that a regular, slow, mindful, winter yoga practice and meditation with plenty of rhythmic steady breathwork can boost melatonin! Mindfulness practices help to clear blocked stagnant energy, increase our intuition, wisdom and awareness as well as connect us to a higher state of consciousness thus improving not only our mood state but our wake/sleep cycles.
So the message here is that during the darkest time of year, it’s more important now, more than ever to maintain your practice, we should be celebrating and stimulating the light with regular yoga and meditation, Practice compassion for yourself and breathe. 🙏😍🙏
Love B xxx