Yoga practices follow seasons just as your diet, we sequence the postures and breathing techniques to stimulate warm and cooling energy. Ayurveda stipulates that connecting to the earth and elements of ‘kapha’ help us to keep us grounded, working with the foundation from the feet and legs bring more earth element into our yoga practice. The element of fire or ‘pitta’ help with digestion, activity and internal heat. Movement in our practice from pose to pose creates a dynamic flow and adjusting our breathing techniques to active and sharp breaths in pranayama such as bhastrika and kapalabhati. These are forceful breaths that ignites energy flow which tend to get sluggish in the winter months. When our muscles are active and engaged more energy, prana, circulate around the extremities of the body, which tend to feel the most cold during the winter- think frozen fingers and toes!
Here are the top 3 poses for warming qualities and muscle activation
Navasana/Boat Pose: Keeping the back and legs straight, this pose focuses on the abdominal muscles whilst keeping the chest open. If your lower back feels tight bend your knees slightly and root your sitting bones into the mat. Breathe slowly and deeply for 10 breaths, repeat 5 times to feel warmed up!
Child’s pose is the equivalent to being snuggled up in bed in the winter months, it is warming and comforting all at the same time! Breathing deeply into your back and belly will ignite ‘agni’ the digestive fire then tends to get sluggish in the cold.
Crescent lunge pose is a great way to wake up and feel active. Feeling lethargic and dull can be common during the winter, with this standing pose we can explore a gentle chest and shoulder opener which takes away a forward hunch. If you are seated for long periods of time the hip opening with the back leg will be a great way to activate the lymph node circulation boosting immunity. Focusing on the feet ensure a strong and firm foundation to lift your energy up through the back.
Being aware of what we are eating in the winter will also keep our body functioning optimally. Black pepper and cayenne help to relieve congestion and mucus elimination, circulation and stimulates digestion and nutrient absorption. Ginger, cinnamon and cloves are warming spices and will boost immunity, invigorate metabolism, enhance digestion and respiration. Stay warm during this winter on and off your