Winter Blahs, Yoga and Squee

 

There’s a lot to love about winter – crisp, clear days, howling storms – I even like ordinary rain.  The trouble is, short, cold days and grey skies make me feel kinda like this:

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By the way, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a huge fluffy tail to wrap around yourself?!  Or is that just me?

Anyhoo.

How do you cope when you you’ve got that dormousey curl-into-a-ball-and-sleep-though-winter feeling, but your life is more hamster-on-a wheel?

 

One of my yoga teachers  does the same routine every week, with gradual variations as the seasons progress.  Her classes are dynamic, fast-paced and leave you sweating and exhilarated.   In winter, she dials it back, and she focuses more on asanas that that are introspective and draw energy downwards and inwards – asanas that are more in tune with the energy of winter – in other words, more yin.  It feels great to be in harmony with the season, and the best part is that I come out feeling more energised than if I’d spent the hour fighting against winter’s tranquilizing effects.

It works, and I’ve started making my home practice more yin too.  Here’s a short sequence of some of my favourite winter poses (I normally start with a breathing exercise and a couple of sun salutations, and always finish with savasana, which I now do prone rather than supine in the winter) :

N.B. I am not an instructor, and this is not meant as a tutorial.  If you are not familiar with any of these asanas, please learn them under qualified supervision – or, at the very least, find step-by-step instructions for doing them safely.

Also – apologies if the formatting goes kind of weird on mobile… I’m just learning

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Cow – Bitilasana

Cow and cat poses are warming and work core muscles as well as increasing spinal flexibility.  I do a few of each, always working with the breath.

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Cat – Marjaryasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Child’s Pose – Bālāsana

 A restorative and very wintry forward bend.    I like to stay in it for a good few breaths

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Sphinx – Salamba Bhujangasana

I’m doing it wrong here – my elbows should be under my shoulders.

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Shoulder Stand – Sarvangasana 

In addition to the many physical benefits of this asana, it also focuses energy inwards and promotes relaxation while boosting energy

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Plow – Halasana

A highly introspective follow-on from shoulder stand

 

 

I would do another child’s pose at this point.

 

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Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

A deeply relaxing asana which mobilizes the spine and stretches the glutes.  I do a couple each side.

 

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Pigeon Pose – Kapotasana

One of my favourite asanas, pigeon is a powerful hip opener which also balances energy.  This is sometimes called half-pigeon, and I find it more grounding and better suited for winter than the upright full pose.

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Happy Baby – Ananda Balasana

Also known as Dead Bug, this is a good groin and lumbar stretch and great for relaxation and grounding before savasana

 

 

 

 

 

What are your favourite winter asanas?  Please share!

 

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