12/21/2012 05:29 EST | Updated 02/20/2013 05:12 EST

One Simple Cure for the No-Sunshine Blues


Welcome to the "dark side." It's pitch black when you wake up, go to work and return home.

It's the time of the year when many of us choose our couches over the gym and boxes of chocolate over a bag of carrots. It's also when cold/ flu season hits its peak and we are supposed to have enough energy to host parties, buy presents and have holiday cheer.

If True Blood and The Vampire Diaries are starting to make more sense to you, it's because we are living in 65 per cent darkness. We will have to wait until March to reduce that number to about 60 per cent.

If you are in need of that extra boost of sunshine (but don't want to fake and bake), try doing a backbend. It's completely free, will make you feel happy, light and energized. Plus, it will only take a minute, so risk is minimal.

Backbends allow your body to take in more fresh air by expanding your lung capacity and opening your chest cavity. Neurologically, a backbend tells the brain that you are waking up and are happy. It's also a great way to stretch you shoulders, upper back, lower back and spine. On the flip side, doing a forward fold will tell your body that you are ready for sleep.

The way you move directly affects how you feel. If you stand tall all day, you will feel energized and happy. If you sit slumped over a computer all day then you will feel tired, drained and even depressed. "Your biology is your biography" is a phrase coined by best selling author and healer, Caroline Myss. This essentially means that whatever emotional trauma you are holding onto will show up in your body in the form of pain or disease.

"Heart openers" in yoga (also known as backbends) will release any feelings close to your heart related to love, nurturing and family. If you are dealing with any unresolved issues, it could show up as fear, anger or nausea during a backbend. Overtime, the emotions will ease. The movement can help reduce your chances of heart attacks or even breast cancer.

Backbends are a powerful and easy way to bring happiness into your life. They can also reduce: anxiety, sinusitis, asthma, back pain, headaches and high blood pressure. They will help bring light into these dark days of winter.

Here are two basic moves that you can try on your own:

Cat/ Cow Pose

1. Place your hands and knees firmly on the ground (on all fours) and let your head hang heavy.

2. Inhale and slowly round your spine towards the sky, imagine pulling your belly button towards the roof.

3. Exhale slowly and let your belly drop towards the ground as you lift your chest towards the wall. Let your neck stay soft.

4. Stay strong through your arms and legs. Continue this movement of lifting and dropping your belly.

5. Continue for five inhalations and exhalations. Increase or decrease as you wish.

Bridge Pose

1. Lie flat on the floor with your hips facing the sky and palms turned down pressing against the ground.

2. Slowly, inhale, bend your knees and plant your feet into the ground.

3. Carefully, exhale and lift your hips off the ground towards the sky.

4. Firmly plant your feet into the ground and ensure that your knees are hip width apart.

5. Inhale. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips even higher by pressing in your hands into the ground and using your abs. Ensure that your shoulders are away from your ears and continue to breathe.

6. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. Release and do three reps (more or less if you wish).

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