Your 5 GO-TO Yoga Poses for Winter!

Do you want to keep your body subtle, your mind calm and the winter blues at bay? Then these five Go-To winter yoga poses are for you! Remember to FEEL into your body, breathe evenly – and most of all – have fun.

As any of these poses would warrant an article on its own, the benefits described are mostly physical rather than emotional or energetic. I encourage you to find a position in your yoga postures that feels good for you on any given day.

Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Downward Dog

One of the most traditional Yoga poses, downward facing dog pose, is brilliant for stretching and strengthening the whole body. All of our joints and major muscle groups are being activated by this posture. As the heart is above the head, it is also an inversion, increasing the blood flow to the brain. With the relation of the upper body to the lower body, it is also a forward bend. It will strengthen your heart & lungs, enabling you to better ward off any upper respiratory ailments. Bend your knees to start with, over time you will be able to bring your heels to the floor. Further move your buttocks toward the ceiling to lengthen your spine even more. Stay for 3 breaths to 3 mins.

Now if you feel like it, you can vary your Down Ward Facing Dog pose.

You can walk your dog. One heel up, one heel down. You can bend the knees and the toes, lengthen the spine and work on some more strength. You can of course twist your down dog: reach for the opposite thigh or ankle with the opposite hand. Or come into a three-legged dog, or even take your dog to the bushes and open the hips.

Swing yourself forward into a high plank position on your inhale and back into downward facing dog on your exhale.

Be creative and have fun. Always move mindfully.

Triangle Pose – Trikonasana

Triangle pose

A traditional standing pose that strengthens all your muscles in your legs, opens your hips and your chest & heart. Allow your upper body to fold over your straight front leg sideways. Keep energy in both legs & both arms, feel your chest open & expand and your spine elongate. Look to your upper thumb. If this is too strong for your neck, keep the gaze to your big toe. Trikonasana is a great pose to reflect on three ideas of living well: loving, learning and sharing. Stay from 3 to 20 breaths, change sides.

Locust Pose – Salabhasana

Locust pose

This is a safe & wonderful mini-backbend that opens the heart & lungs and massages your abdominal organs which can get a bit sluggish in the winter months. It also strengthens your whole back muscles, buttocks, back of legs and your core. This in turn will improve your posture. Gently lift up your upper- & lower body, as well as your arms, keep your gaze forward and down to lengthen from the crown of the head. Hold for as many breaths as is comfortable and repeat.

L-shaped Legs-Up- The-Wall Pose – Viparita Karani (variation)

Viparita L Shape

Open your hips and reverse the blood flow with this wonderful inversion. Take your legs as wide as your hips, groins and hamstrings allow. Then bring your energy into your heels and point the toes towards your face to further lengthen the whole back of your legs. With each exhalation ask the legs to increase the angle of the V. Hold between 10 breaths & 5 minutes. Of course you can simply put yourself into this shape without engaging the legs and still get the benefits of the pose, without the strength work.

Reclining Two-Knee Twist

Side Lying Twist

This is a lovely twist to end your practice or to come into anytime you feel like both back and front of torso need a stretch. It increases mobility in your spine and hips, massages your internal organs, and stretches your shoulders and chest. Be careful, and very gently ease into it if you have lower back problems. Hold for as many breaths as feels comfortable. Change sides.

Childs Pose – Balasana

Childs pose

This is a very calming and comforting forward bend. If the hands along the side of the body are uncomfortable, you can bring them forward and rest your forehead on two fists, or on both palms stacked on top of each other. If uncomfortable in the hips, bring a bolster or blanket between heels and hips, and / or take your knees wider.

Physically, it stretches the whole of your back. Great pose to rest in between poses. Can be a starting or finishing pose to allow yourself to connect to your breath, set an intention and say thank you to yourself .

Energetically, it is calming and soothing as we turn our back to the world. We are curling inwards. A great pose to come into when we feel vulnerable, overwhelmed, or need a short rest from the world.

Always finish your practice with 3-7 minutes of Savasana – Corpse Pose, allowing your Nervous System to calm & settle. Allow your body to be still, your breath to be soft and your mind to be free and alert.

Wishing you fun on and off the mat. Happy Winter & Happy Practicing.

Any comments or questions, please let me know.