Oh baby, it's cold outside! When all you want to do is stay nestled in your warm bed, it is easy to get into a space where all of your energy expenditures are at the bare minimum. Operating at this level of output for too long can have detrimental effects! Weight gain happens when we consume lots of rich foods and spend our free time curled up on the couch. Negative thoughts creep into our minds when we are not active and engaged in productive daily activities. Illness comes to call on bodies whose defenses are lowered in the name of "hibernation."
The yoga body, with consistent practice, seems to repel many of these dispensations. Yoga teaches the practitioner to be mindful of their body, to give it just what it needs, when it needs it! With discipline, daily practice becomes as essential as daily hygiene. With dedication, the whole body becomes stronger. Not only is it easier to recover from external injuries; you may enjoy a boost in immunity and less down time when a virus does invade your system. This is why it is vital not to slip into complacency in the still months of winter.
With this in mind, here are five ways to avoid winter stagnation. Have a tip to add to the list? Be sure to share them in the comments below or with our Facebook and Twitter communities. We love hearing from you!
One: Heat it up
Bring bounce and little jumps into your yoga sequence. Doing so introduces a quality of brightness and vibrancy to your practice! Imagine building a fire within so your heart beats a little faster, which helps you stay warm and alert longer into your day.
Two: Tune into the breath
The quality of your breath is always important, so we surely cannot create a list of healthy tips without reminding you of this! Tune in on the mat, and continue to tune in periodically throughout your day. Attention to breath keeps your thoughts clear of negative spaces and your brain alert and focused.
Three: Protect your skin
Your skin is your first line of defense against the elements. Bundle up! Protect your head and throat with a scarf and hat (this also helps to conserve your creative and intuitive energies). Consider using a light oil before you shower, washing with a gentle soap, then moisturizing again post-cleanse to keep skin from drying out. Drink lots of warm water throughout the day.
Four: Choose a new pose
If everything feels routine, if your reason for skipping yoga and staying warm and cozy on the couch or in bed is that your practice feels old... step things up with a new posture! Poses that open the chest are perfect for making space for fresh energy. Consider a version of Camel Pose, Back Bend, Chest Lift or Fish Pose.
Five: Get outside
It may be cold air, but it is fresh air, and the sun still contains Vitamin D, which we all need daily exposure to! Take a short walk, take the kids sledding... maybe even download one of our Warrior sequences from iTunes and try your own version of Snowga. Connect with nature, stay grounded and make the most of the energy available to you.