Feeling the cold? Here are our 8 top tips to keep your winter yoga practice strong.

By October 24, 2017Yoga
Yoga in the snow

The days are getting shorter and shorter, and the temperatures are dropping lower and lower. The season of pumpkin spice, cosy coats, and can sometimes leave us a little lethargic, and without much motivation to jump on the yoga mat with the same energy we have in the summer months. Here are our 8 top tips to help you keep your winter yoga practice strong!

It’s getting hot in here

You know where I’m going – if the cold is demotivating you from your usual yoga practice, why not try a hot yoga class! Even if it’s not your usual thing, it’s definitely worth giving it a go. Everyone’s different, but for me, laying down in a heated room when the temperatures start to drop outside is one of my favourite things. Just make sure you stay hydrated, bring a towel, and take all the child’s pose breaks you need.

Related image

Go from brrrr to brrrreathe

Winter is the perfect time to work on building your pranayama practice. Ujjayi breath (which if it’s not a part of your practice, you’ve probably heard teachers mention in class) is a way of breathing that regulates heat in the body and helps you build a fiery practice from the inside out, encouraging free-flowing energy throughout the body. To practice Ujjayi breath, first hold your hand up in front of your face and exhale through the mouth like your hand is a mirror you’re trying to fog up. Feel that gentle constriction in the back of the throat. Then place your hand down, and try the same breath with your mouth closed this time, so that strong inhale and exhale are coming in and out through the nose. It’ll kinda sound like you’ve turned into Darth Vader, but don’t worry. That just means it’s working.

Image result for ujjayi breath

Another heat building pranayama practices is Kapalbhati breath –This is great for lighting a fire in your belly. All you have to do is take a regular inhale, and then begin to exhale forcefully through the nose (a clear nose is a good idea for this one – tissues at the ready!) allowing a natural inhale to follow, drawing your navel in and up as you exhale. Cycle through 20 short exhalations, take a break, and then continue for 2 or 3 more rounds. Just a reminder that this technique is a little more advanced and is unsuitable for pregnancy and some other health conditions, so make sure that you practice for the first time under the guidance of a teacher.

Say hey to the sun – even if you can’t see it.

Sun salutations are a great way to build heat in your yoga practice. And hey, maybe if we practice enough, the sun might actually decide to make an appearance one of these days! You never know. They’re also a wonderful way to ease into creating your own home practice, which we’ll get to next! As well as sun salutations, focus on other poses that create heat in the body, like planks, boat pose, and long holds in your Warrior sequences.

Image result for sun salutation

Build your home practice

When the weather gets bad enough to keep us away from our beloved studio classes, all is not lost! Take the opportunity to work on developing your own personal practice. If you’re not super confident just flowing without instruction just yet, never fear! Youtube has a seemingly infinite amount of yoga teachers ready to share their teaching with you. My personal favourite, Yoga with Adriene, even has this gorgeous Yoga for the Winter Blues video. Bonus of a home practice? YOGA IN YOUR PYJAMAS.

Get lit…

Okay, not in the Urban Dictionary sense of the word. But try lighting candles and incense to bring a new element of warmth, comfort, and grounding to your practice. Opt for warming scents like cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves to make the effect even deeper. Burning palo santo can also bring a beautiful earthy, grounded element to your practice. And I looove putting a few drops of essential oil on my mat, or in my mat cleaning spray – my favourites for this time of year are lavender, orange, and rose.

 Image result for autumn candle

 

Ease into it

When it’s cold outside, we need to ease into our practice a bit more than we do during the summer months, or we risk injury. And who really needs an excuse to sneak in a few extra cat cows? Make sure that your muscles are warm and ready to move before you jump into those sun salutations. Keep a gentle bend in the knees and the elbows for a bit longer than usual, and keep props at the ready. Be a bit more lenient with your body, and be careful not to force anything that doesn’t feel good.

Savasanahhhhh

Give your Savasana some extra TLC. When we begin to cool down from our yoga practice as we lie in Savasana, the last thing you want is to get so cold that it starts to distract you or make you uncomfortable. Grab a pillow or a bolster, a blanket, and the cosiest socks you own, and get ready for the savasana of your life. Warning: Sleep is a possibility. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Add some warm tea to your meditation

When you’ve finished your physical practice and you’ve rolled out of Savasana, perhaps take the time to brew yourself a cup of warm tea (the Yogi Classic tea is my favourite at this time of year – all of the cinnamon!) and sit in silence for a moment. Let the warmth of the cup warm your hands, and the warmth of the tea heat up your entire body. This tip was inspired by our teacher Katie, who’s a big believer in the power of tea!

Image result for warm teaThere you have it! Hopefully these tips can keep you cosy and comfortable as you let your practice deepen into the winter months. Does the cold weather affect you and your practice? Do you have any other tips we might have missed? Let us know!

Sarah

Author Sarah

Sarah is a vinyasa yoga teacher and wellness writer based in Dublin, Ireland. Yoga is her true love, the thing that she is called to share with the world. She has also always had a passion for writing, and loves nothing more than combining the two things that set her soul on fire and writing about yoga! You can follow her on Instagram at @thesmilingyogi_ for lots more posts about yoga, wellness, and happiness :)

More posts by Sarah