Yoga + Ayurveda Tips For the Winter Season
This post gives you some tips for navigating winter from a yoga and Ayurveda perspective.
For many people winter can be a dreaded time of the year. The cold, dark, and damp days seem to linger on far too long. The lack of sunshine can lead to seasonal affective disorder, depression, and lack of energy or motivation. When we look at winter from a normal seasonal change perspective it can change our view of the colder months. All you have to do is look to nature and you can see this is a dormant time for many plants and animals. We too can benefit from this dormant time.
A Time for Rest, Rejuvenation + Introspection
According to Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) and our natural world, the winter is a time for rest, rejuvenation, and introspection. We all know this from our experience of bears hibernating, squirrels saving up nuts for the winter, and some trees loosing their leaves for this dormant period. Yet we as humans living in our modern times, often feel we must keep at the level of the activity of the spring, summer, and even the fall.
However, what we should be doing is taking some much needed rest. Allowing our bodies, minds, and hearts to restore during this time in order to be fully ready to begin again in the spring. This is the time for introspection. To go within ourselves and listen to what our body is truly calling for. That might be a nice relaxing afternoon curled up on the couch with a good book and a blanket. It might even lead to an afternoon nap. This is what the winter is for. Taking time out to rest when our body calls for it. Give yourself permission to rest and see the benefits of doing so.
A Time to Boost Immunity
We all know the importance of keeping our immunity up. But this is especially important in the winter months, the cold and flu season. This is why rest is built into this season. Nature knows what is best for us, even if we are inclined not to listen. Extra rest is important to help heal the body but to also boost your immunity.
Yoga practices are wonderful immune boosters. There are entire classes centered around this theme. Moving the body through yoga or other movement practices is the best way to keep our lymphatic system in tip top shape. Our lymphatic system does not have its own pump, therefore it needs the movement of the body to move lymph throughout. Your lymphatic system is the body's trash collection. When things become stagnant and stuck we often find ourselves becoming ill.
This is not to say you need to do strong yoga practices in the winter. Simple, gentle movement practices work as well. However, if it is really cold a heat building practice might serve you best. A flow class will help to build internal heat warming you from the inside out.
A Time for Inside Hobbies
Winter is a wonderful time to embrace some of your favorite indoor hobbies or activities. Things such as painting, writing, drawing, music, pottery, or reading just to name a few. This could be a great time to start a new indoor hobby as well. Maybe there is something you have always wanted to try. Use this time indoors and out of the cold to try something new.
Having a fun hobby to do may change your attitude and perspective on the dark of winter. You may even find yourself looking forward to this season of rest, rejuvenation and time for your favorite hobby. Or maybe not but it might make it a little easier to get through this season.
Tips for Being in Tune with Winter
Take time to rest when needed. No guilt for napping during the winter.
Yoga and breath practice are both wonderful for boosting immunity.
Set aside time for your favorite hobby (or hobbies). Or begin a new one.
Shift your perspective on winter. This is the dormant time of year. Embrace this!