Just as the food we eat, the clothes we wear and our daily activities change with the seasons, we can adjust our yoga practice so that it better supports us throughout the year.
The Winter months can be a time when curling up on the couch with a block of chocolate seems far more appealing than finding your way to a yoga class, or to your mat for your home practice. But rather than succumb to the lure of couch time and sweet treats, try these suggestions to use your yoga to carry you through the chilly months.
Being surrounded by Nature, as we are in Ocean Grove, helps keep us connected to the seasonal changes. When you observe the natural world, you’ll notice that Winter is a time of hibernation. Many trees become bare, many animals withdraw to rest and we feel the pull to turn our attention inward. It is a time for slowing down, contemplation, retreating to our homes and nurturing ourselves and our loved ones. Spiritually, we may be invited into deeper, and seemingly darker, aspects of our being. Having the courage to adventure into these places and weed out anything that is not needed (such as old beliefs or habits that are no longer serving us), helps us to emerge from our Winter hibernation refreshed and ready to welcome the new in the warmer months. As always, compassion and self-love are essential when doing this deeper work, so be kind and gentle to yourself as you embark on this exploration.
While snuggling up to an open fire and donning your ugg boots are great ways to warm up, including yoga poses and sequences to build heat in the body is another excellent way to get toasty this Winter. Warming up with a few rounds of Sun Salutations early in your practice will create heat and prime you for the rest of your session. Other heat builders include backbends such as Fish, Bridge and Bow poses and poses that work your core muscles such as Plank, Side Plank and Boat poses. However, use these stronger poses only when you feel drawn to, as this is a time of renewal and conserving our energy. If Shoulder Stand is safely in your practice, including this can help to keep your lymph system working well and your immune system healthy. As is the case in all seasons, Twists are excellent to aid digestion and settle energy, and are particularly lovely towards the end of class.
So roll out your mat at home or get yourself to a local yoga class; click here for class timetable.