Spring is still a month away, and the winter cold urges the body to seek warm refuge under nests of down comforters or beside the crackling fireplace.
Heading outside is out of the question, especially when the winter blahs have seemingly zapped all energy and motivation. Lying around morphs from feeling
fantastic to seemingly slovenly and sloth-like, and the realization of spending two months trapped inside slowly loses its pleasurable appeal.
When winter weather begins to drain daily motivation and the household walls turn from comforting to the confines of a jail cell, yoga’s invigorating postures
inject much-needed physical energy back into the body.
Practice yoga in a private, professional studio or in the comfort of home. When practicing at home, dedicate a small space to embrace the nurturing and
calming energies of the art of yoga and to set the mood for a quiet meditative personal retreat. A comforting space is especially soothing to the mind
and body during the cold, dark days of winter.
A Zen-like oasis can be designed simply…and cheaply. The art of the personal space is defined by the individual. Buy a yoga mat—nothing special,
but make sure it’s in a favorite color. Set aside a small corner of a room in the home and lay out the yoga mat. Now place a favorite picture or poster
where it may be seen during yoga practice. If plants are a personal joy, bring greenery near the space. Be careful, though, as some postures might
need more room…and the plant might topple!
Avid yogis may have a preferred selection of postures for private practice. Those new to yoga, however, should begin their introduction to yoga through
beginning postures and mindful breathing exercises.
Yoga relies on the breath. To begin practicing and attempting any posture, one should be mindful of the body and the breath. Through the focused pattern
of the breath, the mind is unable to focus on the difficulty of the postures and positions of yoga.
Yoga breathing is known as Pranayama. The Art of Living explains that“Prana’
refers to the universal life force and ‘ayama’ means to regulate or lengthen.” Beginners are advised to learn Pranayama through a professional yoga
instructor, but many sites—like Do Yoga With Me—offer introductory breathing
instructions for novice yogis.
Once the breathing exercises are understood and established, new practitioners to yoga may begin their journey with introductory poses like the Bridge
pose or the Right Triangle pose. There are numerous free videos online at YouTube that help instruct beginners.
The contortions of yoga will help free the mind of stress and help keep the body busy during a time when the weather isn’t so inviting. To maintain a commitment
to everyday practice, create a yoga journal or a map out a winter plan that outlines regular practice routines and new yoga practices (like couples yoga!) and postures.
A consistent yoga routine rejuvenates the body and mind to face another wicked winter day. Through a daily yoga practice, new yogis will grow stronger
both physically and mentally. Yoga strengthens the muscles and increases flexibility, but the meditative breathing also helps the practitioner to begin
to develop mindfulness—an appreciation of the present. Each day—no matter how dreary—the mind and spirit can begin to appreciate
the beauty and joy of the moment.
As the cloudy cold of winter hangs overhead, plan to adopt yoga as part of a daily (or weekly) routine. Enjoy the bodily benefits of greater strength and
flexibility and the mindful benefits of reduced stress and an appreciation of the present.
Cassie Brewer is a makeup artist and freelance writer living in sunny Southern California. She writes about diet and wellness in order to help others not
only be beautiful on the outside, but radiant on the inside. Read more http://cassiembrewer.weebly.com/ and follow @cassiembrewer