Tips for Practicing Yoga During the Winter

Resolutions, schmesolutions. Set your intentions for the New Year. An intention, sankalpa in Sanskrit, is more profound – yet simpler – than a resolution. An example of an intention is to be kind to yourself. One way to be kind to yourself is to stay warm and healthy – and take good care of yourself if a cold or flu bug gets you – during the winter months.

Tips for practicing yoga during the winter:

  • Wear layers.
  • Keep your socks and sweater or sweatshirt next to your mat.
  • Be prepared for variable studio temperatures. You will be more comfortable in Restorative yoga and savasana (corpse pose) if you can put your socks and sweatshirt on prior to the more relaxing poses, since body temperature drops as you relax after a lot of movement such as walking to the studio or an active asana (yoga postures) class.
  • Drink water through the day. Indoor heating is very dry. Combined with winter’s low humidity, you can quickly dehydrate.
  • Moisturize your skin. In addition to combating dehydration, applying the moisturizer – be it lotion, oil, or a combination thereof – helps release muscle contractions that tend to occur due to winter’s chill. Purchase good moisturizers and oil here.
  • Soothe your sinuses. Use a neti pot or a saline spray twice a day to clear the nasal passageways and reduce the risk of cold and flu.
  • Keep moving. Whether you practice postures (asanas) at home or at the studio, walk outside or on the treadmill, daily exercise will keep your body functioning optimally and keep the winter blues at bay.
  • Another way to prevent the winter blues: be sure to get some sun regularly. Step outside, or at least open the window shade, and take a few minutes to take in the brightness.

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Cold/flu bug got you?

*Please stick to a home practice until you are confident that you are no longer contagious.

*Use your own mat. Use your own everything, including hand sanitizer. Bring a washcloth to serve as your eye pillow. Because even if you’re sure you’re no longer contagious but you’re still coughing or sniffling, your overly cautious actions will reassure students around you that you’re a considerate, compassionate yogi.

*Lingering cough? Keep sipping warm tea, or at least water. Do sidelying savasana. If this is the first time you’re doing this pose, ask the teacher to set you up. If you get a cough attack during restorative yoga or savasana, please quietly step out of the room and help yourself to some water or tea.

Maintain your yoga practice through the winter. In numerous ways, yoga is an immune system booster. Together with a healthy diet and adequate sleep, a daily yoga practice – including postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and mindfulness meditation – will help your immune system function at optimal level.

 

© 2014 Amy Dara Hochberg. Photographer: Amy Dara Hochberg. All rights reserved.
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