Winter is upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's time get comfortable and cozy! Unfortunately, for many people, colder temperatures can mean increased aches, pains and stress. Winter may cause us to shrug our shoulders more often and cold weather can reduce blood flow to the muscles, causing them to tighten. The holiday season can be a source of stress for some. If ever there was a time for Yoga, winter is it!
The thought of Yoga can conjure up images of poses on tropical beaches, but the practise of Yoga by a soothing fire or wintery view is priceless! A regular practise is essential to effectively counteract our body's reaction to cold, the tendency to tense up. Winter chill and low light can bring an increase in depression and anxiety. Both mind and body benefit from Yoga asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation during winter.
For an effective winter practise you'll want to stay warm to help relax your muscles. Trade your flimsy Yoga wear for your favorite comfy sweater, pull on a pair of thick socks and even a scarf. On a visit to Mexico City last winter, I was surprised to see my fellow Yoginis dressed in fashionable woolies! Comfortable clothing can increase our sense of well-being. Keep a shawl or blanket handy for your shoulders and savasana (relaxation), at the end of your practise. Avoid any draughts and practice near a heat source if possible. Candles can create a warm atmosphere and focus. If you're fortunate enough to have a room with a view, practice there! The winter weather can help us appreciate what we have, the warmth and comfort of indoors. Remember to continue to drink plenty of water during the winter months, as it helps to regulate body temperature.
With just a small amount of effort, we can feel as comfortable and relaxed in winter as we can during the summer months, perhaps even more so! Go ahead, bundle up, find an attractive, warm place to roll out your mat and get happy!