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Why You Need to Stick to Yoga this Winter

by Tracey Rohan

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Even those who are otherwise enthusiastic about fitness and health are easy prey for the winter blues. It is evidently easier to be active during the warmer seasons when the weather encourages us to be outdoors. However, maintaining these activities turns harder when we move onto the fall and winter.

Yet, the colder weather cannot be an excuse to stop caring for your body. Come to think of it, winter can be the perfect chance to practice yoga. Of course one can opt for a holiday in warmer climes, say some yoga teacher training in the exotic East? But even for those who cannot get away, practicing yoga at home brings several benefits to your physical and mental health. In addition to the luxury of being able to remain indoors, there are many other benefits to practicing yoga during the winter months.

Here are a few reasons for anyone to take up winter yoga sessions:

pranayama during winter

  • Yoga helps to protect your respiratory system with consistent breaths, warming the air through the nasal passage before it enters the lungs. This restricts cold air from entering the body and decreases chances of subsequent lung constriction. Deep and rhythmic breathing can also help decrease nasal congestion and clear out mucus in the sinuses.
  • Yoga helps you build up your body temperature; that internal warmth and feeling that radiates throughout the entire day. More intense styles like power yoga will have you sweat out toxins and help you avoid the winter sniffles. Yoga will activate the sweat glands, clean the kidneys and improve the liver function all of which are of great importance to prevent catching a cold.
  • We spend winter bundled up in layers of clothing, which hinder movement and physical activity. A yoga practice session gives us the chance to open up our bodies. Try out some suitable heart or chest opening poses, and you will start experiencing more freedom of motion and a sense of space within your body.
  • For older people or for those with medical conditions suffering from joint problems, the onset of winter can increase chronic joint pain. The practice of flowing forms of yoga, like Vinyasa, can help increase circulation, which loosens stiff joints and improves the mobility of limbs. Most people experience issues with the circulation in their extremities; well, yoga will get the blood pumping to your cold fingers and toes!
  • Bikram or hot yoga may seem very appealing during the colder times. Warm studios and sweaty sessions make these styles the perfect winter workout. Even for those without access to a suitable training facility, it can be as simple as turning the heat up in your living room. These styles have several heat-building poses to stoke your inner fire and help you get deeper into your body.
  • If weight-loss is your fitness goal, yoga provides a chance for regular workouts without outside distractions in winter. It will help you prevent weight-gain and set you on the path to a fitter summer body. 
  • Do you have a yogi partner? Do some acro yoga together, it’s the perfect excuse to warm each other up. 

partner yoga

TIP: Make sure that you do not leave the studio or home immediately after your yoga practice. This will have the body cool down too quickly, thus affecting circulation and tightening muscles. This can put you at an increased risk for muscle injuries. It’s best to wind down for 5-10 minutes before heading outdoors, and of course, bundle up comfortably!

Can’t bear with the freezing temperatures no matter how much you try? Head to sunny Latinamerica and book a yoga retreat on the beach to get away from the cold!

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