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Nothing beats the feeling of snuggling up in a blanket on a cold winter morning or wrapping your hands around a cup of hot coffee or adrak wali chai as soon as you get up. A lot of changes take place when winter comes! Families stock up on their winter supplies, start adding layers of warmers to their bodies and do their best to stay warm and keep infections, cold, cough, dry skin and other issues at bay.
Yoga is an additional protective cover that can keep your body warm and grant it the strength it needs to battle these winter infections. Yoga works best when done in the morning, so summon enough motivation to get up on cold winter mornings and perform these yoga asanas that will keep you warm throughout the day. They come with various health benefits too!
Yoga Exercises to Warm up Your Winter Mornings
Yoga is an excellent way to start the day, especially during winters. Every yoga pose has its own set of health benefits, and various poses are known to stretch and warm up multiple parts of the body. No doubt the body tends to get a little rusty during winters. Here’s a list of yoga exercises that are perfect for winter mornings.
1. Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskar
The traditional 12-step Surya Namaskar is a great exercise to start your winter mornings. This yoga sequence alone is a host of health benefits and is known to work wonders for the mind, soul and body flexibility. Sun salutations are ideal for weight loss; they keep the skin healthy and glowing by promoting blood flow. As you proceed with sets of sun salutations, you will notice your heart rate increasing, and eventually, you will break into a sweat. This not only gets your blood pumping but also aids digestion, calms the nervous system and boosts immunity.
2. Child’s Pose or Balasana
Start by sitting on your knees with your buttocks touching your heels. Maintain this position and stretch your arms forward, bending gently, bring your chest between your knees. Then breathe in and hold this position for 2-3 minutes.
The child’s pose is a calming pose that relaxes and rejuvenates the body. If done correctly, it stretches the spinal column, hips, thighs, ankles and also calms the muscles. The science behind this pose is that it is a therapeutic posture which helps relieve stress and cure back pain. The balasana boosts blood circulation which keeps the body warm, making it an ideal yoga pose for winter mornings. It works wonders in soothing physical, mental & emotional health.
3. Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Shvanasana
Start by sitting on your knees and your palms. Breathe in and gently lift your knees, keeping your feet & palms flat on the ground. Keep some distance between your feet and hold this position for 1-2 minutes.
The downward facing dog pose is ideal to boost the flow of blood from head to toe. It strengthens every muscle in the body, including the shoulders, arms, hands, arches, hamstrings & calves. The Adho Mukha Shvanasana energises the body and improves digestion. It also relieves headaches, insomnia, and back pain, all of which tend to show up during winters. This yoga pose strengthens the spine and promotes healthy blood flow throughout the body.
4. Low Lunge or Anjaneyāsana
To perform the Anjaneyāsana, start with the downward facing dog pose. Slowly bring your right foot forward, between your hands & slide your left foot back till you feel a stretch in your thigh & hip. Then, lift your hands straight above your head till they’re parallel to your ears and join them. Keeping your back straight, focus on your breathing and hold this position. Then, switch to stretch your other leg.
The low lunge is an excellent pose to stretch and strengthen the lower body, including the thighs, hips and the lower back. This too is a calming and relaxing pose, that enables one to focus and maintain physical and mental balance. It expands the chest and lungs, thus allowing you to breathe in fresh oxygen in abundance, and get rid of the toxins. The low lunge pose boosts endurance in the thighs and feet, promoting blood circulation which helps keep the body warm and active.
5. Bridge Pose or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Keep your hands on either side of your hips. Then gently lift your hips towards the ceiling and balance your weight on your feet and hands. Roll your shoulders under your body and clasp your hands firmly. Hold this position while you focus on your breathing.
If done right, the bridge pose opens up the chest, heart and lungs. It also flexes the hips and back, that tend to become quite rigid because of staying in for extended hours during winter. This pose stimulates the abdominal organs and revitalises the legs. It boosts the metabolism of the body and energises the body. It is an ideal yoga asana for those who spend most of their time sitting in front of the computer. The Setu Bandha Sarvangasana helps control the blood pressure of the body and is known for its calming effects on the body.
6. Fish Pose or Matsyasana
Keep cold and flu at bay this winter with Matsyasana, or the fish pose, which is super simple to perform. Lie on your back keeping your legs straight and your palms resting on either side of your body. Then, slowly lift your chest using your elbows and create an arch in your upper back. Tilt your head such that the crown touches the floor. Ensure that your chest & upper torso are off the floor and hold this pose for five breaths.
The Matsyasana works wonders in flexing the upper body, especially the throat, chest and the abdomen. It strengthens the upper back muscles and those at the back of the neck. The fish pose opens up the lungs, thus relieving you of respiratory ailments. Most importantly, it energises the body and promotes healthy blood flow from head to toe. Performing this pose every morning will strengthen your spine and fix your posture. It is the ideal pose for chilly winter mornings.
7. Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana
The standing forward bend pose literally translates to ‘a powerful stretch pose.’ To perform this pose, all you need to do is stand straight on the ground with your hands on your hips. Keep your feet together, gently soften your knees and bend forward to keep your palms flat on the ground. Then, point your hips up and slowly rest your hands on your heels, and breathe 6-8 times. Then relax.
The Uttanasana is genuinely a magical pose. It has both, spiritual and physical benefits; right from calming the mind to stretching almost every muscle in the body. Apart from activating the liver and the kidneys, the standing forward bend pose also improves digestion and circulates blood throughout the body. It relieves anxiety and calms the nerves. It is the ideal pose to strengthen the thighs, knees and calves. This pose helps keep the body warm and energetic, making it ideal to combat winter lethargy.
Don’t let the cold weather stand in the way of you caring for your body. Go ahead and perform these yoga poses in the morning to open up some congested airways. The circulation of blood is essential to warm up the body and keep it energised all day. From relieving symptoms of cold & flu to taking care of stiff joints, the benefits of yoga during winter are countless. So, why wait? You have the perfect remedy to stay warm this winter.