Winter’s Chemistry And Our Body-Mind

Winter drags on for most of us. I heard last week, the only state that does not have snow is Florida. I

meet many people daily in my job. I have been trying to maintain a sunny disposition in the face of this

interminably long winter. I keep hearing myself say, “The sun always wins”. I see more light every day

and hold my hope of warmer days close.


Often I find myself thinking in the middle of winter doldrums, “what’s the matter with me?” as I find

myself in a funk day after day. The truth is, our brains need sunlight. This has been spoken about enough

in the last decade or so, as the research confirms what we all know…..taking a walk in the sunshine feels

good, and is good for you. Your body and your mind.


In my profession as a Sleep Technologist, I know my brain has what is called the retinal hypothalamic

tract. This begins at the eyes and goes deep into your grey matter. Sun light, not the dim inside lights,

have the single greatest impact on our circadian clock. The circadian clock is what regulates sleep and

wake, body temperature, tells your body when to secrete hormones, and a host of other functions.


Without the benefit of sunlight (10,000-25,000Luxes) we suffer. Indoor light is 320-500 Luxes, your living

room might be only 80 Luxes. Is it any wonder our circadian clock can be massively confused? When to

get hungry, when to produce hormones, regulate temperature?


When as a people we followed natural light, the rhythm of the seasons and worked with our body-mind,

circadian rhythm flowed well. Imagine what a short walk in the sun at lunchtime might do for your body,

your mind and total well being.


As a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy  practitioner, I make the connection. Who feel we are, how we behave and our overall well

being is closely related to our neurochemistry. We often blame ourselves for how we feel, but in truth,

many times the way we feel has been dictated by a neurotransmitter. That neurotransmitter is being

directly affected by some behavior we do or do not have, such as, taking a walk in the sun.


I think this is why I love watching a client work their way through integration in a session. As their body

already knows what it needs, together with the rest of who they are, they arrive at some new way to be,

some new task that will grow into some behavior that makes them feel more whole.


In my role as space holder, loving presence and witness, I am often awed at client’s ability to care for

themselves in the way that is best for them.


Elizabeth Wyatt

Certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist

Certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Teacher and Mind Body Educator