Welcome to deep winter. Whether your geographic locale brings cold and snow, cold and rain or (as we tend to have here in the Carolinas) fluctuation between dreary cold days and warm sunshine sticking with your yoga practice and some basic self care routines will help you remain balanced and healthy.
Here are some Basic Winter Self-Care Tips:
- Stay Warm: Wrap up! Keep your neck and head covered when you go out. Wear warm socks. Layer to keep your body temperature even. Embrace the warm fronts when they arrive.
- Stay Hydrated: Try drinking a few cups of hot water or hot water with lemon first thing in the morning and sipping the same throughout the day. It’ll keep your system humming. (This, by the way, is my dad’s new favorite treat!)
- Stay Moving: Avoid a feeling of dullness by taking a walk, doing some yoga and moving enough to stay refreshed. Be careful not to burn yourself out.
- Keep it Simple: Enjoy delicious, one pot meals that give your digestive system a rest. Think apples and oatmeal, nourishing soups, rice with root veggies, greens and coconut oil or ghee. Eat your meals warm.
- Keep it Spicy: Enjoy the season of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and tumeric. Add them to your food or smoothies (made room temperature) and your immune system will thank you!
- Embrace the Desire to Hibernate: Winter is a time of building up your stores. If you feel the urge to rest more at this time of year than any other, follow it! Wrap up with a blanket and a book, go to bed earlier, spend some time in meditation.
- Absorb Wisdom: Take your hibernation to the next level by finding 5 or even 10 minutes in your day to pause, close your eyes and breath into your heart. Maybe even find an inspiring daily reader, spiritual text or bit of poetry to inspire each day.
And some Winter Yoga Practice Tips:
- Layer Up: Wear layers and leg warmers 🙂 to your home practice or class to keep your body temperature even as you move between colder rooms, heated rooms and work up a sweat in your practice. This will keep your muscles protected from excess strain and your immune system happy.
- Backbend to Brighten: Need a lift from the winter blues? Because of their heart expanding qualities, backbends are natural mood enhancers. Practice a few! Bridge, camel, locus, or full wheel are great options.
- Twist to Revive: Feeling weighed down, tired or heavy? Twisting poses are excellent for clearing out toxins and lifting your energy without too much pep.
- If You Only Have 5 Minutes: Practice Down Dog to enliven your whole body and breath or rest with your legs up the wall to refresh and reset your system after a long day.
- Discover Your Purpose: Use the slower pace of winter to take time to turn inward. Close your eyes and sit with your quiet breath. Ask for a simple word or phrase that will guide you through the day, week and year ahead. Wait for the answer to arrive and trust that it will show up at the perfect time.
I hope these tips help you enjoy the wisdom of winter!
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass