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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Yoga to Beat Those Winter Blues

Last week, I had one of those days where everything goes wrong and all you want to do is hurry home, put on your retainer, and hide until tomorrow.  The contact lens in my right eye decided to be a total asshole, I lost my metro card, and when I finally got home and hung up my coat, my enormous vacuum cleaner fell on my cold toes.  Woe is me. Would I have felt so sorry for myself had it been 75 degrees and sunny instead of 16 degrees and windy? maybe not.

Winter is challenging.  The first snow fall is magical, but the fifth is just inconvenient.  Gone are the days of leaving the apartment with wet hair and a t-shirt; picnics in Central Park are a thing of the past.  Now a days, it's hard to recall an outfit that doesn't  include two sweaters, three pairs of socks, and a dribble of snot.

If you're like me and vacation is no where in sight, your shoulders feel tight, and your mood is Grinch-like, you need a respite, a safe place to defrost your body and your spirit.  You need your yoga practice :)

Here is my yogic prescription to, dare I say it, embrace winter:

1.) Keep your wrappings on until you are warmed up.  Just because you made it to yoga class, doesn't mean you need to strip down to your spandex right away.  I will practice in my sweater and scarf until I'm warm enough to disrobe. I keep my socks on until the first downdog is called.  This instantly makes my yoga practice feel cozy.  You do wanna part with your socks because you could slip, or you could invest in toe sox; I own every color :)

2.) Breathe slowly and deeply; imagine your breath is warm honey seeping into areas of the body that are tight or tense.  Delicious.

3.) When enjoying a home practice, place a mug of warm herbal tea by your mat.  Allow the image of rising steam to help warm your body through. Take frequent breaks to sit on your heels and enjoy a sip.

4.) Lots of sun salutations.  Honor mother nature and her miraculous seasons, even the one that is currently killing your vibe.  Flow through your surya namaskars (sun salutations) slowly like a moving meditation.  This part of your practice is meant to help you build heat and connect with your breath; they are not designed to wear you out.  Keep this in mind; don't practice like a maniac. 

5.) Hang out in supported heart openers with a block or rolled blanket under your shoulder blades. These poses can lift your mood, increase your energy, and stimulate the production of T-cells which fight infection.

6.) Start the day with a hot bowl of oatmeal or porridge prepared with warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, clove, and cardamom.

7.) If all else fails, listen to this song


  1. Love this post! And I love that your cat is chilling on the DVR -- cats know how to find the warm nooks so well.

    1. Thank you! Yes they do; it's my kitty's favorite spot in the apartment :)

  2. It is very inspiring when someone describes such things.