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3 Great Reasons to Practice Yoga in the Winter

As the temperatures begin to drop, it can become harder and harder to leave the nest of our sofa – or even our bedroom – and venture into the world to practice yoga. And yet there are very good reasons to keep the asana flowing, precisely at this time of year.

Yoga Makes Us Sweat!

Plain and simple, a nice, vigorous vinyasa practice is going to build heat in our bodies that will keep us toasty for hours to come. We tend to really crunch up our shoulders at this time of year, bracing against the cold. As our outdoor activities wind down, we become less active. A fast, sweaty yoga flow is just the ticket to relieve some of the toll these changes take on our bodies.

Though heated yoga rooms are not for everyone, this is the perfect time to indulge in a hot yoga class if you’re so inclined. The summery feeling can boost your mood and really warm you through to your wide-spread toes!

Two Words: The Holidays!

Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying the holidays create a lot of work. From increased family interactions, to party-planning, to cookie-baking, to conflicted religious feelings, to serious cases of the mall-sweats, there simply are stressors, no matter how much of a non-grinch you are!

Knowing these times are upon us, of course, we can arm ourselves with the true gift of yoga. Begin a solid routine good and early, and perhaps set intentions around the type of holiday season you’d like to have. See if you can breathe, stretch, and “om” yourself into a joyful season filled with light, gratitude, and love.

It’s Time to Chill!

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the winter is not the time to get all revved up. Like all animals, we need a little bit of hibernation. At this time, the yin – cool, still, dark – energy becomes dominant in the body, while the yang – hot, active, bright – moves inward. Acting accordingly – getting plenty of rest and stillness, listening closely to the body’s needs, and feeding ourselves warming foods will help us to conserve our active energy and use it most efficiently.

This is a better time than ever to balance the vigorous, hot yoga practice mentioned above with some yin sequences. Focus on the kidney meridian to help keep up resilience and immunity. Some excellent poses to try include Sphinx, Seal, and Anahatasana.

Some Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners even recommend a bit of wine or whiskey for those cold winter nights. If this suits your body, sip a glass slowly in the warmth of your home as you watch the snow drift gently to the earth. Some windy, frigid evenings, staying in your nest may just be yoga enough!

Julia Tausch practices yoga and writing in Hamilton, Ontario. She is a certified yin yoga instructor, as well as the author of the novel Another Book About Another Broken Heart. She is currently completing her second novel and blogging about the process.

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