Posted on January 14 2019
Now that the holidays have passed, we are officially into the thick of winter. The temperatures have dropped, and warm weather is still a few months away. The winter blues are very common this time of year, with many of us experiencing a mood shift during the colder & darker days of winter.
The chilly air might make you less than excited for your yoga practice, or to even leave the house all (I see you Netflix binge-watchers!). It’s very common to experience low energy, physical tightness or pain, drops in motivation, and even sadness during the coldest months of the season. Fortunately, we can use yoga to combat some of these winter blues and seasonal lows!
Here are 5 ways yoga can help you beat the winter blues:
1. Warm up with Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is one of the best ways to warm up during the coldest months of the year! Not only does hot yoga help you to sweat out toxins, but practicing hot yoga loosens stiff muscles, and creates flexibility in your body and joints. If your hands and feet are always cold, even a few minutes in a hot yoga room can increase circulation and help spread heat from your core outwards towards your fingers and toes. Stay healthy this winter by sweating it out on your mat!
2. Stretch your Tight Muscles
We have a natural tendency to hunch over more in the winter - especially when we need to bury our faces in our scarves and coats in order to stay warm. When muscles are cold, they tend to be less flexible, and movement can sometimes become painful. Yoga (especially in heated classes) gives us the space to open up again. Taking time for heart opening asanas can help counteract ‘the hunch’ and creates more space in your physical body.
3. Boost your Immune System & Mood
Research shows that doing yoga regularly can help reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder. If you find yourself missing sunshine and struggling to boost your mood, hitting the mat can help! Yoga has also been proven to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Say goodbye to that winter cold!
4. Promote Weight Loss
From an evolutionary perspective, our body’s instinct in the winter is to maintain body fat because that’s when food is most scarce. Plus, it doesn’t help that it hurts your face to even be outside for 5 minutes, so walking anywhere is usually out of the question. Because we are less likely to exercise during the winter months, weight gain is common this time of year. Yoga (especially vinyasa) keeps you moving, which helps you to burn calories, develop muscle tone, and improves your metabolism. Plus, creating a mind and body connection promotes healthy eating habits and taking better care of yourself overall!
5. Gives you energy
Between the lack of sunlight and frigid temperatures draining your energy, winter is a time when energy levels are at an all-time low. Yoga is a great way to naturally boost energy! Increased breathing allows our blood to constantly receive fresh oxygen, and movement stimulates blood flow and circulation, which increases energy and benefits the entire body. Yoga can also counteract some of the harmful effects of sitting too long!
And now, here are 3 "Fire Starting" Poses to Try at Home:
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Benefits: This is a great pose for strengthening your legs, calves, while stretching your shoulders and opening your chest. It is a great balancing pose.
How it's done:
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
Benefits: Because your weight is being supported by your legs and arms - you are strengthening your legs and arms, and wrists, glutes, the abdomen, and back.
How it's done:
Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)
How it's done:
Stephanie Morgan is a yoga instructor and lifestyle blogger from Chicago! Yoga has impacted her life in so many ways, and she loves having the opportunity to teach and share her practice with others. She hopes to encourage and inspire other people to follow their dreams and find new levels of possibility in their minds and bodies by bringing their practice off their mat and into their lives! You can find her blog at www.XoStephMorgan.com
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