With less sunshine, shorter days and often cold, gloomy weather, winter can have a significant effect on our mood and energy levels. While our natural instinct may be curling up under the blankets, stepping onto the yoga mat and moving the body can have a positive effect on mood and general well-being. Yoga can get your body moving, energize you and calm the mind, especially during this hectic time of year when there are final exams, last minute shopping, and holiday get-togethers.
Fight winter blues
There’s no doubt that winter can bring its fair share of gloom with less sun and warmth to energize us along with the usual colds, coughs, dry skin and feeling lethargic. To make up for it, energizing sun salutations are at the heart of every yoga practice, and can help warm you up and get ready to start your day.
The sun may not be out, but that isn’t an excuse to skip your yoga practice in favor of hiding under the blankets. Vinyasa yoga is a fast-paced style of yoga that is linked by the breath and can get your heart rate up. The continual movements, from one pose to another, gives you a cardiovascular benefit, which can increase muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
Increase muscle strength and tone
Many of the yoga postures and position will not only warm you up, but will help increase your muscle tone, which will give an added boost to your metabolism (after all of those cookies). These include Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Chair pose (Utkatasana), UtthitaTrikonasana (Reversed Triangle Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), inverted postures such as ViparitaKarani (Legs Up the Wall Pose) and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Chakrasana (Wheel Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), and Shalabhasana (Locust Pose) are challenging poses that support digestion.
Cold, dark mornings and chilly nights are not particularly conducive to encouraging you to roll out your mat and get to your regular yoga class. However, it is a great choice for your mind and body as you move through the coldest season of the year.
Can’t make it to class? Here are my top three energizing yoga vids: