10 Yoga Hacks for Cold Weather

Young woman practicing yoga's Savasana Pose or Corpse Pose.

Do you live where it’s likely there are still many colder days ahead of you before spring has finally sprung? If so, then you know that it can be particularly hard to stay motivated and energized during the last few weeks of a long winter. I don’t think anyone’s mastered the art of cold-weather yoga practice like us Canadian yogis. So, I asked yoga-teacher friends from across the country to weigh in with their yoga hacks for winter practice.

Get Comfy in the Cold: 10 Yoga Hacks

Serene lady relaxing and meditating on a yoga mat in a cozy house.

Here are our top 10 yoga hacks for getting comfy and cozy on your mat when the temperature drops:

  1. Image if a small heater to warm up your space for yoga practice.Make the atmosphere in your yoga space inviting by lighting beeswax candles, playing some soft chants, or slow, ambient music. The glow of an infrared bulb (available in the reptile section of animal supply stores) can also provide some welcoming warmth to your yoga space.
  2. Use an electric heat dish. Mine has earned its place among my favorite winter yoga props. (photo right)
  3. A hot bath or shower before practice helps to loosen up joints and warm up muscles.
  4. Wear layers so you can begin your practice feeling warm, slowly peel them off as your body heats up, and have everything nearby for a cozy Relaxation Pose (Savasana).
  5. Emphasize serenity, warmth, grounding, and steadiness by moving more slowly and consciously.
  6. Begin with whatever you love that feels good. Rolling movements or ball work can be good for working out morning stiffness or after a day of desk work.Senior woman practicing advanced yoga Chair Pose Utkatasana at home.
  7. Strengthening poses like Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana), Plank Pose (Phalakasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana) (above), or Revolved Belly Pose (Jatara Parivartanasana) held for longer timings build heat and bring deep warmth to the body.
  8. Practice standing poses to strengthen the legs and stimulate circulation in the lower body.
  9. Supported backbends are wonderful for opening the chest, releasing tightness in your neck and shoulders, as well as encouraging deeper breathing. Lying over blocks, bolsters or chairs counteracts the shoulders-forward-and-down posture you might tend to adopt to combat winter’s bluster.Supported backbends are uplifting and supporting.
  10. Go inward. Winter is traditionally a time of hibernation and introspection, so cold days are a wonderful time to focus on restorative yoga and deep relaxation.
Barrie Risman writer, yoga teacher

Barrie Risman is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, teacher trainer, and author of Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice. Download the first chapter of her book and learn more about her new livestream workshop series, Yoga for Turbulent Times: Building Strength, Resilience, and Compassion for a Changing World, at www.barrierisman.com.

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