Winter in Ayurveda is called the Kapha time, meaning a time where we feel a sense of inertia, heaviness, and introspection. The body and mind react by showing signs of what in the animal kingdom is hibernation.
Our bodies start to slow down and our metabolism slows with it, we even feel less energy and strength. All the while our personalities often become more introverted and self-reflective. Add to that the challenges of illness we often face in winter and we can see why we might need a little support from yoga to stay active, open, and healthy.
To stay well, we’re going to practice a simple sequence of yoga poses to balance our nervous, immune, and endocrine (hormone regulation) systems. This sequence isn’t just to refine our internal balance, but to make us feel good, leaving lethargy and illness behind.
5 Winter Yoga Poses
1. Legs Up The Wall Pose
Lying on your back, prop up your hips with a pillow or bolster and lift your legs up towards the sky in line with your knees and hips. You can rest your legs on
Simple, relaxing and leaving us with energy to spare. This is one of the most beneficial postures we can hold, leaving ourselves in a simple inversion, encourages flushing of our lymphatic system, keeping our immune system in check, at the same time creating a parasympathetic nervous system trigger making us feel relaxed and in control.
2. Power Posing, Arms Wide Variation
A simple and quick way to shake off the winter blues and help regulate our endocrine system by adjusting our balance of hormones is by power posing.
To do this simply stand tall and take your arms up and wide. In doing this you make a huge, confident shape. Now hold this for at least 2 minutes, fighting the urge to shrink and get physically smaller, allow yourself to press bigger into the shape instead.
Your body responds almost instantly by releasing testosterone your confidence boosting sex hormone, and reducing cortisol your stress hormone. This is of enormous benefit, particularly as we tend to feel more closed and introverted in Winter.
3. Down Dog To Up Dog Rolls
Starting with down dog, lift the heels and follow that wave all the way through the spine, through the plank, and into up dog. Breathe in and while you exhale draw in from the belly and move directly back up from the core waving back to down dog.
Perform this until your form begins to waver and rest, focusing on the integrity of the movement itself. This exercise is flushing the body while being invigorating and focusing, allowing the whole body, both front and back, to work and stretch. Balancing our bodies out energetically and helping us find balance in our hormonal system at the same time.
(Note: if this is too much, simply practice a slow cat/cow).
4. Tree Pose Variation
The tree is a grounding balancing pose which also helps us get out of thinking mind and into feeling our body.
To perform, stand and place one leg on the inner thigh above or below the knee, allowing the lifted knee to come
While in the pose, focus on grounding down through the bottom foot, and reach up through hands. You can experiment some sensations here, see if you can experience an energetic movement from the earth up and out through your fingertips.
5. Dolphin Pose
From your best down dog position come down onto your forearms. Here it is important to continue to elevate the shoulders away from the body by pressing down – this will pull your head away from the earth and make your sitting bones higher.
From here start to transfer your weight up and forward allowing the body to grow taller all the way through the inner heels – while challenging the arms and core a little more. If it’s part of your practice you can even hop up into forearm stand and variations from here.
Winter is for many a more challenging season for us to stay motivated, healthy and happy. Let yoga guide you through, keeping you feeling
Try this sequence daily with any modifications you feel could benefit and remember, always finish your practice with savasana or some quiet meditation.