Reduce those Winter Blues with these 11 Yoga Poses

This winter, welcome a slower, deeper practice into your week. With a combination of warming and cooling poses, the following sequence will keep you balanced and focused through the dark winter months. Set an intention to practice the following poses 3 to 5 times each week. 

1.  Kapalabhati Breath

This winter - begin your practice in a simple cross legged pose (or lotus) with a Kapalabhati Breath to cleanse the body. To begin practice 1 to 3 rounds of 7 to 11 breaths. View the instructional video from Yoga International below for instructions. 

Kapalabhati is a pranayama practice as well as a shat kriya-one of the six cleansing actions of hatha yoga. With its emphasis on the exhalation, kapalabhati enhances elimination of volatile metabolic wastes and dispels sluggishness and congestion, while engaging the seat of apana in the lower belly. Source: Yoga International

2.  Child's Pose

When you have finished your breathwork, retain the energy by drawing into child's pose. This pose calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue. Gently rock the forward side to side to release tension and prevent headaches. Allow your body to rest here for 5 - 10 breaths.

 Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

3.  Downward Dog

Allowing your head to drop below your heart can aid with those winter blues as it relaxes and soothes nervous system and shifts our perspective. Hold for 5 breaths.

 Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

4.  Plank

Plank is an invigorating and deeply grounding pose allowing you to anchor in to your foundation. From downward facing dog, glide forward into plank. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  

 Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

 

5.  Cobra/Upward Facing Dog

Lowering through chaturunga from down dog (optional knees down), lift the heart through cobra or upward facing dog.  Allowing the heart to lift through will help elevate your mood, invigorate your heart, and relieve stress and fatigue. Hold for 2 breaths. 

 Cobra - Image Source -  www.hyablog.com

Cobra - Image Source - www.hyablog.com

 Upward Facing Dog - Image Source:  www.kristinmcgee.com

Upward Facing Dog - Image Source: www.kristinmcgee.com

6.  Downward Dog

Lift back into downward facing dog for 5 breaths.

7.  Lunge

Step the right foot between the hands keeping the back heel lifted and enter into a low lunge. Keep the finger tips tented or on blocks to add space to the the spine and low back. High lunges are known to aide with indigestion, constipation and sciatica. Hold for 5 breaths then switch sides. 

  Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

8.  Wide Leg Forward Fold

Adding a wide leg forward fold to your practice this winter will help calm the mind as well as combat headaches, fatigue and mild depression. Rest the crown of your head on a block or blankets for a more grounding effect. Hold this pose for 5 - 10 breaths. 

 Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

9.  Supported Bridge Pose

Return to downward facing dog from your wide leg forward fold and lower your knees down to the ground and coming to rest on your back. with your feet hip distance apart, lift into bridge pose and place a block or several folded blankets under your sacrum. Optional: lifting your legs up. Supported bridge pose harnesses many benefits including strengthening the parasympathetic nervous system, relieves stress and mild depression, improves digestion and helps combat insomnia. Hold for 10 breaths.

  Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

10.   Simple Spinal Twist

Draw your knees into your chest and release the legs to the right side, head falls to the left. Stay for 10 breaths then switch sides. Spinal twists help reduce tension, stress and cleanses your organs to help with digestion. 

  Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal

11.   Savasana

Lengthen your legs out and draw your arms to your sides. Take 3 final deep breaths then allow the body to melt into the floor and your mind to relax. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Savasana calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression, relaxes the body, reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia and helps to lower blood pressure. 

 Image Source:  Yoga Journal

Image Source: Yoga Journal