Hey there Natural Beauty!
Hope you’re stayin’ warm this chilly Winter. Brr!
Winter is a time of introspection – we want to stay cozy as the days are cold and the sun sets early. If you don’t already have an established yoga practice, you may not consider yoga to be introspective. Yoga increases body awareness not only through postures, but also how you’re breathing. Over time, you may want to incorporate meditation into your practice to further enhance your self-awareness.
Winter is an ideal time to introduce the Self-Care of an at-home yoga practice and meditation.
“Okay, but how?”
If you’ve never done yoga before, I highly recommend either going to a beginner-friendly group class to learn some basics, or have private at-home yoga classes with a certified teacher. (We highly recommend Kayfabe Yoga to anyone in Winnipeg!). This way, you dramatically reduce the risk of injury, and you can focus on how the poses feel in your body.
With many yoga styles available, it may take time to determine which style would be best for you. A private teacher can help you navigate this based on what you’re hoping to achieve, any injuries you may have had, if mental health is a focus, and other factors. For example, some people need a lot of movement- so a Vinyasa Flow practice would be best for them. While others need deep tissue stretching like Yin offers. A private teacher can create classes based on your needs, combining multiple yoga styles to suit you.
Because winter is a period of going within, I generally recommend people practice gentle types of yoga such as Yin or Restorative Yoga. Syncing our bodies’ natural cycles to the seasons is holistic. For anyone out there dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder every winter (hello…most of us!), your body may be craving a predominantly yin/restorative practice.
“I can’t meditate.”
Everyone can meditate. How and how long are the determining factors. Some people need to meditate in perfect silence and stillness. Others need active meditation such as an invigorating yoga practice. Neither is better than the other. A great easy way to incorporate an at-home meditation practice is in the shower or bath. Get warm, count how long you inhale, pause, then count how long you exhale. Keep doing this. If you’re in the shower, the noise of the running water will help drown out background noise so you can focus on your breath count. Focusing on counting your breath quiets the mind and gives it something to do. See? You’re meditating!
Bringing in a meditation practice during winter can be so helpful to cope with SAD or winter blues. This beautiful article addresses all the classic “reasons” people give for being unable to meditate and why meditating is beneficial for your overall well-being.
Whether practicing yoga or meditation at home, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Set your phone to silent and ask family members to leave you alone for a while. Have your mat and any props you may want to use ready; have a glass of water or tea nearby. And most importantly: RELAX. It’s only yoga/meditation. 😉
Spring will be here soon!
Take care of yourself in the meantime and focus on you.