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Fight the Winter Blues - Free Online Yoga Sequence to Lift Your Mood
This winter has been long, cold, and icy for us - and, frankly, we're getting a little tired of it! So, instead of sitting around beating our heads against the wall, waiting for elusive spring to arrive, we decided to get creative and move our bodies and hopefully start to lighten up all the heaviness of this season.
Scroll down to find out more about each pose included in this Winter Yoga Sequence.
1. Supported Backbend
We love this pose because it opens the heart, and brings more ease to the mind and body. To practice, roll a blanket up and place it behind the shoulder blades. Be sure it isn't too far down or up the spine - right behind the heart is perfect.
Open the arms out to the side and breath into the heart and abdomen. You can remain in this yoga pose for up to five minutes - just be sure you are comfortable and able to let go.
2. Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) is a stimulating yet accessible backbend pose that warms up the entire back body and core system of muscles. Draw the shoulders away from the ground and feel the chest opening and lifting.
3. Supported Backbend #2
This supported backbend is a little deeper than the first and adds a shoulder opening component as well. You may need to play around with the number of blankets and support you need to find ease in the pose - everyone's body (and props) are slightly different, so take the time to adjust until you feel a mild stretch along the spine.
4. Extended Hand to Toe Pose
Standing Hand to Toe Pose builds focus and gently stimulates the nervous system and mind. Use a chair for support and to make the pose less energizing. If you are feeling the need for more energy, try this pose without the chair for support and feel the focus and intensity grow.
5. Wide-Leg Forward Fold
Forward Folds are known for their calming and soothing effects. We love this version of Wide-Leg Forward Fold with support under the head - it allows you to totally let go and release all the muscles along the spine and in the neck. It is great for relieving stress and tension throughout the body.
6. Legs Up the Wall
Viparita Karani is one of the most soothing yoga poses around. It helps with back pain, stress, insomnia, menstrual cramps, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and more. We recommend at least one Legs Up the Wall a day - do more on really tough days!
For more information on how yoga can help with depression, check out this informative article on a recent scientific study looking at the effects a regular yoga practice can have on mental health.