Yoga Practices to Ease the Winter Blues

Originally posted on Redfin.com, Kidding Around Yoga was excited to be part of this collection of ideas and suggestions for getting through the winter blues with yoga! 

During the cold and dark winter months, the lack of sunshine often leaves us feeling mentally and physically drained. Even if you live somewhere like Minneapolis, MN or Toronto, ON, and have experienced dreary weather for countless years, it never gets easier. Sometimes even getting out of bed can be a struggle and might make you want to roll back over and retreat under a warm blanket.

Luckily, physical activity helps release mood-boosting endorphins while taking your mind off of your day-to-day stresses. So if you struggle to maintain energy and keep your mood positive in the winter, incorporating yoga practice at home may be just what you need.

We’ve asked experts to share their best tips for incorporating yoga practice at home. Try integrating these suggestions into your routine and bring the sunshine back into your life.

Woman doing yoga with her dog

Create a comfortable, relaxing space to carry out your practice

This may include candles and blankets that help establish a sense of calm. Practicing yoga at home gives you the opportunity to build a setting that matches your preferences and energy, undisturbed by the rustling of another practitioner. – Yoga Alliance Professionals

Begin with cat/cow, child’s pose, and spinal balance

Starting a yoga routine can feel overwhelming. Make sure to start small! Begin with just five minutes a day of long deep breathing and gentle postures that wake up the body. A few of our favorites are cat/cow, child’s pose, and spinal balance. Right away you will feel more grounded and connected. – Lora Brandt, The Yoga Casa

Don’t get stuck on the idea of perfection

If you’re an “A” kind of student, I want to ask you to try something radical and shoot for a solid, “C.” When starting yoga practice at home, it’s easy to get stuck on the idea of perfection. If we don’t have enough time (or the right music, mat, clothes, etc.) it’s easy to toss our practice out of the window by thinking, “Well, if I can’t do the full hour, I might as well not start.” Au contraire my friends. Think small. Start with a five-minute daily practice. You’d be amazed at the transformation that can emerge from small, daily acts of self-care.  – Rachel Yoga

Sleep in your yoga clothes

My best tip for developing a consistent, at-home yoga practice would be to sleep in your yoga clothes and practice first thing in the morning. It’s so easy to say “I’ll fit it in this evening”…but then life happens, and well…next thing you know, it’s been two weeks since you unrolled your yoga mat, and you can’t understand why you’re in a funk. – Heights Yoga Project

Make it fun and include the kids

Kids have cabin fever? Yoga-fy your family’s favorite games for some active, mindful fun! Simon Says becomes Yogi Says as you try different poses. Do a Yoga Freeze Dance by dancing to upbeat music and when you pause it, the family freezes in a yoga pose. Write yoga poses on Jenga blocks and when you pull out a block, the family does the pose. Beat the winter blues with yoga moves! – Kidding Around Yoga

Mom and daughter doing yoga in front of the couch in the living room

Add a few yoga-themed decorations

Designate your sacred yoga space with a few calming yoga-themed decorations, as a friendly reminder to take care of yourself and hit the mat. If you’re doing a zoom yoga class, square your background symmetrically with a window or glass door. It will be nice to stare at something visually pleasing for both you and your other yoga zoomer classmates. – Dan, from Yoga Joes

Find a teacher you can connect with for yoga practice at home

The most important thing you can do to support creating a home yoga practice is to find a teacher online who can actually watch and observe you as you practice! At Stillness + Movement (a boutique virtual yoga studio), you can find sustainable, mindful vinyasa flow classes to help students find steadiness and ease in their bodies and relax their minds. Most virtual yoga is taught by a teacher who is on their mat, unable to hear or see their students. At Stillness + Movement, we teach with primarily verbal cues and do limited physical demonstration. This helps students drop deeper into presence, and the focus moves away from the aesthetics of a shape and towards the experience of the practice.- Francesca Cervero Yoga And Wellness

Engage in the breathing practice called pranayama

Yoga is an enjoyable practice, benefiting both mind and body. Establishing a conscious mind-body connection is the means as well as the goal of a yoga practice. The most accessible way to achieve this connection is by engaging in a breathing practice known as pranayama. It’s as simple as focusing on the experience of your breath: the pace, the sound, the feeling of your breath as it enters and exits your body. Pranayama can be practiced any time, anywhere. So begin with your breath, your lifeforce energy, and the rest will come. – Full Circle Yoga + Pilates

Grow your practice organically

Yoga is for everyone, not just the flexible as there is so much more to yoga than just reaching for your toes. Yoga benefits both body and mind whether you are in bed, on the couch, or in your zen den, you can do yoga from anywhere. Start small with a couple deep breaths to calm the mind followed by one or two poses (such as folding forward, hinging at the hips, or cat/cow movement in the spine – tucking your tailbone and rounding your spine). Let your practice grow organically and listen to what your body needs whether that’s movement, meditation, or breathwork.  – Yoga London

Move slowly, pose by pose

If you’re unsure how to start a home practice, start small. Day one might just be resting in child’s pose for five minutes. Then eventually move your way to a full practice, little by little, pose by pose. – Firefly Yoga Studio

Man doing a yoga pose in the living room

Take advantage of online classes

Your home can be a safe, welcoming place to practice yoga. Set yourself up for success by finding an established studio with experienced teachers who offer a variety of online classes. You don’t have to have any experience – just be open to taking deep breaths, learning something new, and doing something healthy that’s just for you. – Uptown Yoga

6 yoga postures to incorporate at home this winter

If you’re a person who skis once or twice a year, there are 3 things to consider regarding the preparation of your body: strength, endurance, and flexibility. Here’s a sequence of 6 Yoga postures you can practice at home. Whether you ski or not, this sequence will heat your body, increase your strength, flexibility, and overall joy of living. – Alcove Yoga

Practice hot yoga in your home

Winter is coming, and along with it, snow boots, ice storms, horrible driving conditions, and heating the car up for 20 minutes before you can leave the house. With a yoga dome, you can stay warm and cozy right at home. Just imagine… No traffic, no masks, no worries about parking, lines for lukewarm showers, or even worse, driving home in your cold, sweaty clothes. Just blow up your Dome and within 15 minutes, enjoy your delicious hot yoga practice at home. – Hot Yoga Dome

Move your body with intention

One of the best aspects of yoga at home is that it is accessible anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a routine or fancy equipment. And yoga doesn’t have to be about stretching, just the intention to move your body with purpose. This intent can deepen your physical connection to your body, helping you enjoy the wide-ranging benefits of yoga. – Yoga Strong

Carve out time to practice

Too many people are stressed out or in pain, which makes them feel stiff and stuck! Yoga not only improves physical health, but also relieves depression, decreases stress, and increases confidence so you can actually enjoy your life instead of just muddling through. Start by scheduling an amount of time (15-90 minutes) that feels doable, 2 to 3 times a week (yes actually write it on your calendar!) to practice yoga in a designated private space. Turn off your phone, and remember: if all you do is concentrate on your breathing, you are already getting benefits! – Home Hot Yoga

Movement is the medicine to feel less stuck

Covid has caused many of us to feel stagnant. A regular yoga practice will help you feel less stuck, both physically and mentally. Movement is medicine even if your practice is only 5 minutes a day. – Kerry Walker, Balance Yoga

Sweat once a day – every day

Create a nook in your home that is always accessible, layout a yoga mat, dim the lights and play some of your favorite tunes. Bonus points if you have a space heater nearby. Start simple, set the scene, and carve out just 10 minutes for yourself to breathe and move your body – your friends and family will thank you. – Sweat Yoga

Prep your space beforehand

How does one start a practice as a beginner? Set up your mat before you go to sleep, or before you leave to go to work. Prepare the space, so you can step into it, as you would with a shower in the morning or a bath before bed. This practice allows you to focus on the present while winding down to relax and connect to your body’s needs. Join the On-Demand Classes of Buddha Body Yoga to start your daily practice. – Buddha Body Yoga

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