It’s that time of year again when my duvet begins to generate it’s own magnetic force-field. The closer I get to it the more I’m drawn towards its cosy, squishy, warm loveliness, and the longer I want to stay.
In this part of the world there are a number of reasons why our favourite comfort blankets are becoming even more irresistible. For some of us it’s the darker-than-dark mornings; I find it hard to get on with people who are chirpy in the mornings at the best of time, but if you’re one of those people who spring into a December morning with a skip in your step we can never be friends.
Or perhaps it’s the gloomy evenings which seem to start drawing in even before you’ve finished your lunch. When you’re going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark, and seeing less sunshine than Dracula, it’s no wonder that you figure you might as well cut your losses and climb under the eiderdown at any opportunity.
Of course, as we’re barreling towards yet another festive season your inclination towards creating an impenetrable fort with your favourite bedding could have more to do with the impending arrival of every annoying relative you’ve so far managed to avoid at family gatherings.
Whatever the reason – I feel your pain.
But here’s the good news. It’s not our fault. In Winter we have a natural tendency to want to conserve energy. Scientists have researched this stuff, and discovered that it’s part of our evolutionary heritage. When it comes down to it, whilst we’re living in the 21st century our basic genetic make-up hasn’t changed that much since we were living in caves and grunting at each other. (Again – maybe that’s what your Christmas is going to feel like.)
In prehistoric times we needed to avoid the risk of starvation, and whilst we couldn’t quite go into a full-on hibernation like some of our furry friends, we definitely needed to adapt our behaviours. so it was natural for us to slow down.
The fact is that when our exposure to daylight is reduced, our melatonin production increases, which in turn increases our need to sleep. Our autonomic nervous system kicks in to conserve energy; our heart rate slows, our sex drive decreases, and our need to take on calories increases. (Another mince pie, anyone? Oh go on – it’s biology.)
Yet here we are in the modern world, with artificial lighting and heated environments which means we can keep on keeping on. As we overcome and conquer nature, we find ourselves totally out of sync with our Circadian rhythms.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that we all shut up shop, hunker down and do nothing until Spring pops up over the horizon, but taking a moment to recognise that sometimes our bodies need to slow down and be nurtured in different ways at different times of the year can do us the world of good.
So with that in mind, and as a homage to my terrific togged friend (the duvet) here are some gentle, soothing, nurturing poses you may like to try. For extra loveliness you don’t even need to leave your bed to do them. Try and stay in each pose (and make sure you do each side where appropriate) for at least 30 seconds.
You’ll have to amend the way you fold/roll your duvet depending on it’s size and squishiness. If you need a bit more padding feel free to treat yourself by using a couple of pillows or cushions too.
Nesting and nurturing…
Roll your duvet into a long tube shape. Wrap it around your lower back and find a comfortable way to sit cross-legged. Use as many blankets and cushions as you need. Bring the duvet all around you, so that it supports under the knees and covers your feet. I love the feeling of having my lower back warmed, and my toes toasty warm. Stay here and breathe. Whenever the mind wanders bring it back to your breath.
Child’s Pose with extra squishiness…
On your knees, place your folded duvet in front of you at the right height so you can comfortably rest your chest on it, with your bum as far back towards your heels as it can go. Find a comfortable place for your arms and head to rest.
Alternatively, roll the duvet into a longer tube and straddle the whole thing; let your body be heavy and stay for as long as feels comfortable.
Festive Forward Fold…
Take your legs apart into a V-shape; not as far as they can possibly go, but about two-thirds of the way. Bring your duvet in towards your pelvis; find the perfect place and add more pillows if you think you need a bit extra support – you can always remove them as you sink into the pose and feel you can go a bit deeper.
Ho-ho-ho for Hips…
Roll your duvet into a long tube again. Bring it around your lower back, and draw your feet in towards your pubic bone. Allow the soles of the feet to rest together, and pull the duvet in so that it not only cradles your lower back, but also offers support under the knees. Allow the hips to soften and the knees to gently rest deeper into the duvet.
Follow your nose and nestle…
Flatten out the long duvet tube a little, but keep it around your lower back. Bring your left heel in towards the right thigh; place the heel as close to your pubic bone as you can. Place one end of the duvet underneath your left knee for support. Bring the other end of the duvet across your right leg and allow your torso to extend out and down along the leg. Again, add more padding if you need and make sure you repeat on the other side.
Happy Christmas, Hamstrings!
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Roll the duvet so that it rests underneath the back of your knees, giving the legs some gentle support, and also wraps around the front of your knees, giving you a soft place to rest your chest. Again, add extra pillows if you need a higher resting place.