How to make the most of the winter sun: Go barefoot on the grass
Fortunately, the sun shines all year round in India. Even in winter, albeit not intensely, we still have the sun in the mornings and afternoons, just right for outdoor activities.
When you go outside, wear your woolen clothes, get comfortable, and experience the fresh, cool air. Of course, don’t strain your body when it’s uncomfortably cold. Nature is great for improved circulation, oxygenation, cellular regeneration, and mental health and well-being. The invisible elements in matter are energizers and prepare our bodies to function optimally.
CHOOSE AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY WITH A FUN ELEMENT
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Whether walking, stretching, hiking, running, cycling, yoga, functional training and calisthenics, nature raises your happy hormones. Such activities are relaxing and full of health and healing. They engage with the elements, be it nature, greenery, river, sea and hills, and harmoniously bring the outside in.
Make sure you don’t rush your morning wellness or fitness activity. It should be done in a very simple and relaxed manner and have recreational value. Don’t compromise on your sleep either. Make sure you eat dinner early and sleep early.
Outdoor fitness literally changes the landscape of your psychological and emotional well-being.
If you do a combination of functional training and yoga or functional training and calisthenics, forget about routines and drills. Rather go with the flow and the imagination and choose sets that give you an exhilarating feeling.
After doing compound warm-ups, you can do lunges, jack walkers, and PT exercises we did in school, and then move into yoga postures. Jumping jacks, burpees, jogs in place, hops, followed by Dhanurasana, Naukasana, Ulta Naukasana, Tadasana, Pawanmuktasana, and Virabhadrasana stimulate your endocrine and digestive systems while cleansing, regulating, and strengthening your organs. In short, they primarily strengthen your core and your self-confidence.
HOW CONNECTING TO THE ELEMENTS WILL HELP YOU
The sun as a source of light and heat is very important for our survival. Its warmth is energizing. The morning sun acts as an all-round tonic and accelerates the metabolism. Sunlight shuts down the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, leaving you awake, alive, alert and ready for the new day. It aids in the absorption of vitamin D, which in turn, when supported by other minerals, helps the body function better.
Fresh air is also an important survival factor. If we consume a lot of air, oxygen and ether, we get a lot of vitality, the urja, the prana. Deep breathing releases a lot of energy in humans. We take in air through our nose into our lungs. This atmospheric air that we breathe contains a life-giving substance – oxygen. The air comes in close contact with the blood in the lungs and cleans it. Prana is the flow of energy from which all other forms of energy emerge. All functions of the body are controlled by prana – walking, speaking, thinking, breathing, pumping of the heart, elimination of waste, release of gastric juices and saliva. The more we activate the prana, the better our health will be. Exercising outdoors, in the sun and in the fresh air is therefore very beneficial.
Water stimulates the energy in people. Note that after a long, tiring day, taking a hot shower and cooling off afterward will make you feel refreshed and keep your batteries charged for some time.
The connection with the earth element, in which we immerse ourselves and connect with gravity, makes us humble. Try doing balasana or resting your forehead on the ground. Let gravity take away all the stress and exhaustion. To complement this, lie down and do shavasana for 15 minutes with slow breathing. Let gravity absorb all musculoskeletal stress. When the earth element is balanced, you feel stable, secure, grounded, and unshakeable. You are at peace with life and all its colors.
Exercising barefoot on the grass is very good for general balance. Food nourishes the body. And when food is grown organically using the natural elements like sun, air and water, it can give us the energy and strength to eat well. That’s why we say food is life. Treat yourself to a spoonful of organic honey or half a fist of raisins, figs, a few dates, grapes, chikoos, bananas or pomegranates – this will give you a lot of energy, motivation and inspiration for the work ahead.
The more you blend with the elements, the more energy you gain, become immunized, and consequently have a longer life.
(Dr Mehta has coached Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe contestants and the Maharashtra Police Department. A best-selling author, he was named FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India) .