Practicing yoga in a cold environment can be challenging. However, with a few modifications, you can stay comfortable and focused during your practice.
Dress in layers so you can adjust as your body warms up. Start with a base layer made of synthetic moisture-wicking fabric to keep sweat away from your skin. Add a mid-layer fleece or wool sweater to trap heat. Top with a jacket or vest that is easily removable. Thick wool socks will keep your feet warm.
Use Blankets and Bolsters
Keep some blankets or towels handy during your practice. You can place them under your hands, knees, or hips for padding during poses. Bolsters also make excellent props for providing support and comfort in seated and reclined poses. The extra insulation helps retain body heat.
Try Hot Yoga or Infrared Heating
If it’s extremely cold, consider practicing hot yoga, which is done in a heated room around 95-100°F. The ambient warmth will keep your muscles pliable. At home, use a space heater or infrared heating panel to warm up the room before your practice. Make sure to hydrate since you’ll sweat more in the heat. With some preparation, you can maintain a cozy yoga practice all winter long.
The winter season can make it harder to maintain a consistent yoga practice. The cold, dark days can sap your motivation to roll out your mat. Here are some tips to stay inspired:
Set a routine and make plans. Mark your yoga sessions in your calendar or set reminders on your phone. Having a regular routine will help you stick with it. Make specific plans like attending your favorite instructor’s class or doing a video on Saturday mornings.
Join challenges or workshops. Signing up for a 30-day yoga challenge or a weekend workshop will give you something to look forward to. The communal experience can boost motivation and accountability. Look for winter-themed challenges that provide inspiration during the colder months.
Focus on how you’ll feel after. When you’re feeling unmotivated, focus on the mood-boosting benefits you’ll get after your yoga session. Visualize how much better you’ll feel, both physically and mentally. The sense of accomplishment will energize you.
Commit to just five minutes on your mat. More often than not, once you begin flowing, you’ll get into it and complete a full practice. Don’t worry about having the perfect session each time. Just get started and do what you can to build the habit. With regular practice, you’ll notice all the benefits yoga provides this season.
Yoga Sequence for Winter
Yoga in the winter can help warm the body while also providing all the usual mental and physical benefits of a regular practice. When designing a yoga sequence for winter, it helps to focus on poses that generate internal heat. Here is an example sequence that can be done safely indoors during the colder months:
Begin with 3-5 rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) to warm up the entire body. Move slowly and focus on linking the breath with movement. On an inhale, stretch the body open and on an exhale, fold forward bringing energy inward. Keep the gaze soft and let the breath flow smoothly.
After warming up, work into some gentle backbends to continue opening up the front of the body. Poses like Cobra (Bhujangasana), Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Camel (Ustrasana) and Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) are great options. Be sure to move into any backbends slowly and carefully.
Standing poses build heat from the ground up. Try sequences like the Warrior poses (Virabhadrasana I & II), Triangle (Trikonasana), and Tree (Vrksasana). Standing on one leg in Eagle (Garudasana) is also very warming. Move slowly through each pose, breathing deeply.
Finish the practice with restorative and cooling postures. Try Child’s Pose (Balasana), Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani), or Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana). Stay for 5-10 long, deep breaths in each pose. A final relaxation pose lying on the back will allow the body to integrate the entire sequence.
This balanced yoga routine can help you stay warm and centered all winter long. Be sure to listen to your body and pull back if you feel overheated at any point during the practice. Staying hydrated and dressing in breathable layers is also key for practicing yoga in winter.
Room Temperature and Hydration
Practicing yoga in a cold room can lead to tightened muscles and discomfort. It’s best to keep the room temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit when doing yoga in winter. This allows your muscles to stay warm and relaxed. If you don’t have control over the thermostat, consider using a space heater to warm up the room before your practice.
Staying hydrated is also key for practicing yoga in winter. Our bodies lose moisture from breathing heated indoor air. Be sure to drink water before and after your practice to avoid dehydration. Many yogis enjoy sipping on warm herbal tea or hot water with lemon during the winter months. The warmth can be comforting and keep your body temperature regulated. Avoid icy cold beverages which can shock the digestive system.
What to Wear
When practicing yoga in the winter, what you wear matters. The key is to dress in form-fitting layers that allow you to move freely while keeping you warm.
Opt for breathable fabrics like wool or silk to avoid overheating. Form-fitting long sleeve tops and leggings made from moisture-wicking performance fabrics are ideal for trapping body heat close to your skin. Pair them with wool socks and gloves to keep extremities warm without compromising dexterity.
Avoid baggy, loose-fitting clothes that can get in the way or restrict your range of motion during yoga poses and flows. The extra material can also get caught or tangled. Keep layers smooth and close to the body.
Instead of bulky sweaters or sweatpants, wear fitted activewear like yoga pants, bodysuits, warm tights, and long sleeve athletic tops. You want flexibility without exposure to the cold. Having too many loose layers can make it challenging to check alignment and adjust form.
The key is finding that balance between breathable, fitted apparel that moves with you and keeps you cozy from the inside out. Don’t let improper cold weather gear discourage you from keeping up your practice in winter. With the right athletic wardrobe choices, you can stay comfortable and focused as you flow from pose to pose.
The cold winter months provide the perfect opportunity to turn inward and focus on personal growth through meditation. Here are some inspiring meditation themes and visualizations for the winter season:
Visualizing Warmth & Light
Combat the winter chill by visualizing warmth and light within your body. Focus on imagining a glowing ball of heat at your core, radiating out to your fingers and toes. Picture the sun shining brightly, filling you with light and energy. Breathe deeply and soak in the simulated sunlight.
Gratitude for Health
Winter is a time when many people get sick. Take some time to express gratitude for your health. Appreciate your ability to breathe freely, move your body with ease, take care of yourself, and experience the wonders of the season. Send well-wishes to those struggling with illness.
Focusing on Personal Growth
The stillness and introspection of winter provides the perfect chance to ponder your personal development. Meditate on cultivating positive qualities like patience, mindfulness, creativity, and compassion. Reflect on your goals and growth so far. Visualize how you can continue to evolve in the coming year.