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:
By the way, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a huge fluffy tail to wrap around yourself?! Or is that just me?
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
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.
Child’s Pose – Bālāsana
A restorative and very wintry forward bend. I like to stay in it for a good few breaths
Sphinx – Salamba Bhujangasana
I’m doing it wrong here – my elbows should be under my shoulders.
Shoulder Stand – Sarvangasana
In addition to the many physical benefits of this asana, it also focuses energy inwards and promotes relaxation while boosting energy
Plow – Halasana
A highly introspective follow-on from shoulder stand
I would do another child’s pose at this point.
Supine Spinal Twist – Supta Matsyendrasana
A deeply relaxing asana which mobilizes the spine and stretches the glutes. I do a couple each side.
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.
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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