Baby it’s coooold outside! Yep, it’s Winter time in Chicago once again.
Is it me or does everything seem to feel like more of a struggle during this time of year? Just the simple act of getting out of your house takes more time; putting on all the layers and shoes and gloves and hats and scarves, only to have to peel them off again, then put them back on…..you get the idea. I teach several yoga classes and privates per day. Driving from location to location on slippery roads and cautiously walking on icy sidewalks is challenging. I also find it harder to take deep breaths when it’s so cold outside….the icy air hurts my throat, not to mention I often feel claustrophobic with all the layers. Needless to say, I think I have discovered that I am not a Winter person. Thank goodness for warm yoga studios…right?!
Sadly, because I spend most of my days teaching classes I rarely have the opportunity to actually go and take a class. I do the best I can, but unfortunately most weeks I am only able to attend one or two public classes. That is why my home practice is so sacred to me! As a teacher and a student, it is important for me to get a practice in daily, and it is my home practice that really allows me to get creative with sequencing; using my body and breath as a canvas. That being said, because I am so deeply affected by the Winter weather, I have had to shift gears with my home practice. Deep back bends just don’t come as easily. I crave hip openers, hamstring stretches and forward folds. I yearn for quiet moments and long meditation.
When it comes to my home practice, I’ve always tried to listen to my body and give it what it needs. For me, Winter is the perfect time for introspection, getting grounded, checking in and being still. Think of it like planting a seed and allowing the roots to grow. Then come Spring, when the weather begins to warm up, your body gradually opens, and you begin to blossom once again.
Below is an example of a simple Winter home practice. This is more of a Hatha based practice (no vinyasa). I recommend having a couple of blocks handy if your hamstrings are tight. I try to hold each pose a minimum of five breaths, unless the pose feels extra yummy, then I hold it as long as I like. Make sure it’s warm in your home, and when working towards hamstring stretches, move slowly.