Dear yogi friends,
The days are getting colder and many of us fall prey to the winter blues. It is so much easier to be active during the warmer seasons when the weather encourages us to be outdoors. But keeping up with our yoga practice gets harder when we move into autumn and winter and yet it is so important that we do not let it become an excuse to stop caring for our bodies.
There are many reasons why yoga during the colder months is helpful to us.
First of all, yoga helps to protect our respiratory system with consistent breaths, it heats the air through the nasal passage before it enters the lungs. This limits cold air from entering the body and reduces the chance of our lungs feeling constricted.
Secondly, deep breathing, using a rhythmic breath can help reduce any nasal congestion and clear out any mucus in our sinuses.
Yoga also helps us increase our body temperature; the internal warmth and the feeling that we get after a yoga practice can radiate for the rest of the day.
More intensive poses and practices can also help you sweat out toxins to avoid winter illnesses. Yoga activates the sweat glands, it cleans the kidneys and assists our liver function which will all help us prevent catching a cold.
Additionally, we spend the cold months swaddled in layers of clothing, which can restrict movement. Our yoga practice gives us the chance to open up our bodies, particularly with heart or chest opening poses, this can give you an important sense of space inside your body.
For the more mature amongst us, or those with medical conditions such as joint problems, winter can increase chronic joint pain. Flow-based forms of yoga such as Vinyasa can help improve circulation, which will then loosen up stiff joints and increase the mobility of our limbs. Many of us have problems with the circulation in our extremities and yoga is very good at getting the blood pumping to our cold fingers and toes.
Also remember that Bikram or hot yoga is a great option during the colder times. Even for those of us without access to a Bikram training facility, it can be as easy as turning the heat up in your living room and carrying out a home-based hot practice.
One thing to remember is to avoid leaving the studio or home immediately after your yoga practice. Winding down for 5-10 minutes with shavasana before heading outdoors will let the body cool down naturally and help you avoid circulation restriction, tight muscles and importantly muscle injuries.
And lastly, don’t forget to bundle up comfortably before you head outside! I look forward to greeting you with warmth and positive energy this winter term.
Our sessions start up again tomorrow 29 October.
I’ll look forward to seeing you back on mat.