The dark, wet and cold days of Perth winter have arrived...and it can be a real struggle to get up out of bed, never mind getting onto our yoga mats! The idea of hibernating on the sofa watching Netflix until spring sounds so appealing doesn't it!
Practicing yoga during the winter is one of your body's best defences against getting the dreaded cold or flu. Yoga and Ayurveda approach wellness in such a way that we live and move to be well, rather than waiting until we get sick to try and remedy ourselves. I'm sure there's some cliche that if you don't make time for your wellness, you'll have to make time for your illness!
With seasonal shifts, we naturally need to change with them; adapting our daily habits, yoga practice and food choices. During the winter months , the energy of the Earth and its creatures is naturally drawn inward, some are even dormant; an ideal time for restoration and introspection, just as many plants and animals hibernate to prepare for their spring renewal, we too can slow down and rejuvenate.
YOGA PRACTICES TO PROMOTE WINTER WELLNESS
The winter months are notorious for colds and flus, so postures that open the chest, throat and sinuses will aid in improving congestion and supporting your respiratory organs. Plus many of these postures will natural relieve stress and anxiety while encouraging vitality.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Alternate nostril breathing; clears the nasal passages, relieves anxiety and calms the mind.
Sun Salutation: Surya Namaskara
This invigorating invocation to your yoga practice helps build heat in the body. Ideal to pacify Kapha dosha when practiced upon rising in the morning, even just for 15 minutes. Enjoy our online guided practice.
A supine backbend/inversion opens the throat and chest. Cover yourself with a blanket and stay for up to 10 minutes to feel as though you're on a mini yoga retreat! No bump required but it's ideal for pre and post natal women too!
Legs Up the Wall: Viparita Karani
As with any inversion, this restorative variation helps with stagnation of lymph, boosting circulation and immunity. Wonderful to help you sleep too!
Stay for 5-10 minutes.
WINTER FOODS TO WARM YOUR SOUL
Did you know that your body's response to cold weather is to constrict the pores on your skin and the superficial connective tissue to prevent heat loss?! When this happens it directs heat away from the peripheral tissues and into the body’s core. So it's for this reason, our appetite becomes stronger in winter. Unfortunately, that's not a green light for indulging in your favourite fast foods! It's important to make conscious food choices; according to Ayurveda, choosing seasonal foods like root vegetables and eating warm food such as stews, soups, porridge and a good dose of healthy oils found in ghee, avocado and olive oil help to keep your immune system vibrant while also minimising congestion.
Drinking warm water first thing with some lemon helps stimulate the digestive system and my favourite winter before bedtime beverage is Golden Milk, check out our home made recipe, excellent for joint health.
Where possible, walking up by 7:00am - which may even be a sleep in for some, but winter encourages us to hibernate a little! You might even go to bed earlier than usual.
Wake up and move - even if it's just for 10 minutes, moving first thing in the morning boosts immunity and metabolism, de-fuzzing your body after a night of sleep. Use our Sun Salutation practice to help you get going!
Get some sunshine! Some days it can be hard to get outside, and we're fortunate to have so much sunshine during Perth winters, go for a walk or a hike - even just sitting outside in the sunshine will boost Vitamin D production needed to fight off the flu and will help maintain your body's natural rhythms.
CHANGE IS CONSTANT
There really is no such thing as bad weather, it's all just weather and we have the means to adapt, whatever the season, whether it's a particular season of our life or a season of nature. Seasons will always come and go; after winter comes spring, then summer and autumn turns into winter once again. The seasons are a reminder that we go through periods in our lives that are more full and prosperous and other times where we are dormant and sometimes even, depleted.
Our yoga practice can support us during winter by encouraging mental clarity, a sense of security and grounding while also serving to remind us that change is the one and only true constant, everything is fleeting and temporary, like it or not.