In essence, Yoga teaches us how to transition. Its cultivation of balance and equanimity within allows us to move and breath with ease through changes and shifts. It can be difficult for the body/mind to catch up to the seasonal and cyclical changes happening in nature, but through both yoga and meditation, we develop our ability to remain balanced in times of transition, both in nature and in everyday life.
There are a variety of Yoga techniques and practices to stay well and warm in winter. By integrating both movement, stillness, and Ayurvedic nutrition, you can experience this seasonal shift with ease, intention, and grace!
- Nadi Shodhana- Alternate Nostril Breathing
This pranayama [breathwork] technique promotes balance and harmony in the body and mind. It connects the masculine/feminine and solar/lunar qualities within to help cultivate wholeness and unity. Nadi Shodhana is particularly beneficial during seasonal shifts because it facilitates a smooth transition into a new phase from the inside out.
Begin by finding a comfortable seat with the hips slightly elevated above the knees. Sit on the edge of a blanket or pillow to find the subtle pelvic tilt and length in the spine. Take several natural breaths to ground yourself in the present practice.
With your right hand, form the Vishnu Mudra. Curl your index, middle, and ring finger into the palm of your hand and leave the thumb and pinky fingers extended out. Bring your right hand towards your nose.
Close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. Pause at the top of the inhale and close the left nostril and exhale through the right. Pause at the bottom of the exhale then inhale through the right nostril. Pause at the top of the inhale and close the right nostril to exhale through the left nostril. End the practice by exhaling through the left nostril and then return to the natural flow of your breath to receive the balancing benefits of the practice.
Begin by practicing for 1-2 minutes and add more time as you feel comfortable. Pranayama should never be a strain, so if it begins to feel forced, release the practice and pick it back up when you feel ready.
- Eat Seasonal, Root Vegetables
By eating seasonally, we better align the body with the natural world. When we are connected to nature and the seasonal shifts, we are able to transition both physically and energetically through universal, natural changes with more fluidity and ease. Specifically in winter, it is important to eat foods that warm the body. Root vegetables in particular are grounding foods that are typically not eaten raw. By integrating these foods into your winter diet, you embrace the what the Earth offers naturally, which is a sign of gratitude for the present. By showing this seemingly unsuspecting display of gratitude, intentions are able to manifest and the body is able to exist with ease rather than struggle or resistance to the seasonal shift.
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Winter Squash, Onion, Kale, Carrots, Cauliflower, Ginger, and more.
- Move Your Body
Movement warms the body and naturally increases physical and energetic well being by aiding in digestion. It is important when eating heavier, warm foods in the winter to balance that with physical movement. Specifically, asana practices that include twists help ignite digestive fire, Agni, which warms and energizes the body from the inside out. Likewise, simple walks during the winter months not only increase digestive fire, but connect the body and mind with the Earth. Just like eating seasonal vegetables, connecting the physical body to the natural world through movement eases its ability to transition into the winter months without energetic resistance.
Suggested Asana [Yoga Positions]:
Virasana- Hero’s Pose
Parivrtta Utkatasana- Twisted Chair
Baddha Konasana- Seated Butterfly
- Rest and Integration
To balance the movement and increase in digestive fire, stillness based practices are also recommended in the winter months. Because it is cold and the night comes early, we are naturally drawn inward during the winter, and in that time, we are able to integrate and reflect on the movements, changes, and shifts happening around us. The time of reflection and integration allows us to truly digest all that we intake, both physically and mentally, and are able to restore our digestive fire, or Agni, so that we can experience warmth from within during the colder months.
Yoga Nidra, Guided Meditation, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga
There are many more ways to increase wellness this winter through Yoga, but these 4 tips are a great start. For more information on any of these practices, please leave a comment or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We would love to continue helping you stay warm this winter and move through the seasonal shift with ease.
Don't forget to join us for Winter Solstice Meditation Dec. 21st on Zoom and check out our schedule online to learn where and when we can help your on your winter wellness journey.