By the middle of February, we in Michigan have grown weary of the winter. The endless days of cold, snow, ice, wind and gray skies have given our moods, energy levels and immune systems a beating. While some of us may look to food, alcohol, Netflix and social media to get us through the last vestiges of winter, might I suggest some healthier things you can do on your yoga mat to help shake off the winter blues and start thinking Spring?
1. Flush Out Cold Season Germs
We’ve all certainly learned a lot about viruses and germs over the past few years. And while I believe that vaccines should be everyone’s go-to solution during a pandemic, it’s good to remind ourselves that we can also help our body expel less potent invaders naturally. A yoga practice that includes dynamic poses, inversions, backbends and breathwork will stimulate your lymphatic system and condition your lungs and respiratory tract to flush out germs and viruses more efficiently.
2. Detox Your Internal Organs
If you feel like you could use a good detox right about now, you’re not alone. Spring cleaning comes intuitively at this time of year. Yoga postures such as inversions that that increase circulation, twists that stimulate your internal organs, and restorative poses that activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system all aid in the detoxification process.
3. Stoke Your Digestive Fire
If you want to focus more specifically on your digestive system and metabolism, start by stoking that fire in the belly through some strong 3rd chakra postures like twists and abdominal strengtheners, and then add in some flowing, releasing 2nd chakra poses that will help with elimination.
4. Balance Your Kapha Dosha
According to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, the main qualities of Kapha are heavy, slow, dense, and dull. As late winter to early spring is the Kapha season, this is the time of year when your Kapha dosha can get excessively out of balance and you may lack motivation, feel lethargic, and gain weight. To bring Kapha back into balance through your yoga practice, focus on backbends (the chest and lungs are the ’seat’ of Kapha in our body), dynamic poses that keep you moving, and strong standing poses that help you feel strong and invigorated. (You might enjoy the Ayurvedic Yoga Sequence for Seasonal Affective Disorder on my Audio Downloads page.)
5. Purify Your Mind
While I spent a lot of time above focusing on how to alleviate the physical symptoms of the winter blues, your mind can also benefit from a late winter/early spring cleanse. To help purify your mind on your yoga mat, you might add breathwork like Ujayi pranayam to your practice. I personally like to think of this ocean-sounding breath as ‘washing away’ my thoughts. A meditative Yin yoga practice can also be very helpful for clearing your mind. And of course, doing any kind of yoga practice will be beneficial to your overall mental health.
For more yogic tips on how to shake off the winter blues and help with doing your own spring cleanse, I invite you to join me for my upcoming ‘Live+Virtual’ Spring Yoga Detox 8-week course where I will guide you through practices like the ones mentioned above. My Spring Yoga Detox starts on March 6. Enroll by 2/26 to save $10!