Winter is a time for hibernation, a time for introspection and restoration, to slow down and recuperate after a long year. Yoga for winter has a few concepts that can help us thrive and to stay balanced during the long, cold months ahead.
Warming Winter Yoga Flow
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How To Find Balance With Yoga For Winter
The rule for Ayurveda is that like attracts like. Winter is dry, dark, and cold, and shares those characteristics with Kapha and Vata doshas. These doshas can become unbalanced which can, in turn, cause:
- Poor circulation
- Joint pain
- Poor digestion
- Sour mood
5 Yoga For Winter Poses
Since winter is a time we are more susceptible to colds, yoga for winter includes poses that open up the chest, lungs, and sinuses to improve congestion and support our respiratory organs. We also aim to warm the kidneys and rekindle our digestive fires to combat winter’s negative effects.
1. Sun Salutation
Sun salutation works best first thing in the morning. It invigorates your yoga practice and invites warmth into your body. You can run through the sun salutation poses quickly for warmth, changing poses with each inhale, or slowly to inspire calmness within.
2. Fish Pose
Fish pose is supine backbend and inversion that opens up the throat and chest. Do up to 3 sets to relieve congestion and strengthen the respiratory system. This asana boosts the body’s energy and fights fatigue typical in the winter. As a bonus, it provides a lovely stretch for the shoulders.
3. Bow Pose
Bow pose strengthens your back and opens your shoulders and chest to provide some congestion relief. The pose also improves leg strength, improves the flexibility in your hips, and helps stimulate digestion.
4. Locust Pose
The locust pose is a great beginner pose for those who want to progress to deeper backbends. This asana strengthens your back, arms, and legs. Don’t be fooled by the apparent ease of this pose; just because it is great for beginners doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging! This is another pose that helps open up the chest and lungs.
5. Supported Shoulderstand
This pose is an inversion supported with blankets under the shoulders. Inversions like this one promote blood circulation which helps us stay warm. They also decrease feelings of depression and anxiety that are much more common during the darker months. Inversions also improve immune function, which we need more than ever in the winter.
Other Yoga Tips For Winter
Don’t Skip the Yoga
This idea might seem like a no-brainer, but don’t skip your yoga session! During winter we are much more likely to experience stiffer joins and more aches and pains. Not making time to roll out your mat every day will only exacerbate these issues – don’t skip it!
Winter is a season likely to irritate and imbalance those with Kapha-dominant doshas. Kaphas especially need to be careful what they take in and how they find balance. Two things Kaphas should do are eat fewer grains and drink ginger tea.
Look to Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is fantastic in the winter. Use it for some aromatherapy by lighting a eucalyptus candle, diffusing essential oil, or hanging some eucalyptus in your shower. It will help open up your sinuses and warm you from the inside out.
I know, I know, there’s not much better than a nap on a cold, dreary day. However, you should avoid napping during the day in the winter. While we’ve spoken about sleeping in, you should avoid sleeping for too long, as it promotes increased sluggishness in our bodies. For better winter sleep, gargle warm water with a pinch of turmeric and salt in it before bed each night.
Eat Nuts and Other Optimal Foods
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are fantastic choices in this weather. Eat dates, figs, and spinach, and other leafy greens too. Milk, butter, and ghee are also beneficial. Fill your meals with warm soups, stewed vegetables, oatmeal, and rice for soothing warmth.
Look for more Ayurvedic tips for winter: How To Stay Cozy This Winter