When we’re cold our bodies natural circulation decreases. This can slow the effectiveness of our organs and lead to constriction in the muscles and joints. Just like we make shifts in our diets depending on the season the same should be done for our yoga practice. When it’s cold outside we can use certain yoga poses to develop an internal heat that’ll keep us healthy and warm.
Raise Your Arms
Keeping your arms up and in line with your ears in poses will increase your heart rate. During your practice look for opportunities where the arms can be lifted up, for example during tree pose, chair, high crescent lunge or even in a simple seated pose arms can be lifted for more vigor.
Engage Your Manipura Chakra
Our heat is created from the center belly of the body, in yoga we call it the manipura chakra or third chakra and it’s connected to the Earth element of fire. Poses that work the core ignite the physical and energetic fire to give you more warmth.
Handstands, forearm balances, and headstands all work to generate heat and energy from within. You don’t need to come into the full expression of these poses to feel the heat, try practicing against a wall to begin.
Add in Backbends
Start with simple backbends to warm up the hip flexors, shoulders and smaller muscles in the back before moving into deeper or more challenging poses. Work on holding your backbends longer and maintaining a smooth and even breath to bring heat into the body and to build a stronger spine.
Incorporate Forward Folds
By giving yourself a gentle hug a forward folds creates an introspective, calming, soothing, and grounding, essence that warms the body.
Use Your Ujjayi Breath
Seal your lips and breathe slowly in and out through your nose, creating a light constriction in the back of the throat. This constriction challenges the muscles of respiration, and begins to build an internal heat. Continue for 20 breath cycles.
Avoid Cool Water
Try to hydrate before and after your practice, drinking cool water brings the body’s temperature down.
Shift your yoga practice toward postures that heat and stimulate the fire within this Winter, here are a few of our favourites.
Begin and end your practice in child’s pose with a belly compression. Let your belly press down onto your thighs, creating compression of your abdomen. If your head doesn’t reach the ground slide a block underneath your forehead.
Warm up your practice with 3-5 rounds of a quick paced Sun Salutation A or B.
Engage the core in the top of a pushup position. Lift your low belly up and in, hold for 5-10 breaths as you stoke your inner fire.
The deep squat of Utkatasana fires up the body by engaging the strength of your legs, back, and core, arms raised adds more heat. Hold this pose for 5-10 long breaths.
The addition of a twist builds stamina and creates compression and detoxification of your internal organs. Hold this pose for 5-10 long breaths.
Engage your low belly, lift your chest up and open and bring your feet up off the floor. Focus on maintaining your balance as you hold for 5-10 warming breaths.
Eating more cooked foods and heartier meals during the Fall and Winter comes naturally to most of us. There may be a biological reason for this- during colder weather our body tends to constrict the pores on our skin and our connective tissues in order to prevent the heat in our bodies from being lost. Because of this our bodies heat moves away from our skin’s surface and into the body’s core, resulting in a stronger appetite during the colder weather. Increased hunger isn’t a bad thing, it just means we need to be conscientious of the foods we choose. Here we’ve listed a few food choices that will help keep you healthy, satiated and minimize congestion.