Best Yoga: We propose a series of asanas and a revitalizing breathing technique to practice in the cold months. They will give you energy while helping you keep your mind calm.
The physical performance in winter often reaches its lowest level: the muscles are less irrigated, and bones lose density. But the introspection that, in turn, favors this season can be very suitable for practicing yoga.
The effects of yoga combine well with the needs of the body and mind in winter. The postures or asanas enhance the regenerative impact thanks to the greater flow of blood that reaches the organs.
They stimulate physiological processes and favor the harmony of operation between the different systems.
Yoga practice is highly recommended in these months, mainly for these reasons:
- It helps prevent joint pain, back pain, and contractures that frequently occur in this season due to stress and low temperatures.
- The brain is flooded without hindrance, and the production of internal heat in a state of rest reaches limit values.
- It makes it easier for the energy to activate and the mind to relax, which results in a feeling of serenity and inner vitality.
1. An Ideal Yoga Session for the Cold Months
To notice the benefits of this practice, it is advisable to do yoga at least twice a week. Your series should include:
- Various greetings to the sun or the moon.
- Forward bends such as Uttanasana or Padangusthasana.
- Some sequence of the warrior postures: Virabhadrasana.
- Postures or asanas that strengthen the kidneys and bladder, such as Dandasana Paschimottanasana, Badha Konasana, or Malasana.
- Before finishing, some inverted posture , such as Salamba sarvangasana, Halasana or Sirsasana.
- To end the session, a few minutes in the relaxation pose, Savasana.
An advantage of yoga over simple stretching to gain flexibility is that it is accompanied by mental and emotional discipline. The mind increases equanimity to perceive reality with less interference and more perspective.
Although it can be taken as a physical practice, to obtain all the advantages, it is convenient to also take into account the philosophical and spiritual aspects of this Indian tradition.
2. The Best Breath to Warm Up
With the cold, we tend to shrink and restrict our breathing. Therefore, it is important to become aware of the breath and encourage it to expand and lengthen.
For this, yoga has a whole series of breathing techniques that we know as pranayama. Pranayama is, specifically, the art of controlling the yoga breath.
Prana means “life force” and Yama, “control” or “discipline.” Pranayama is, therefore, the art of developing the inspiration and, through it, enhancing vital energy and consciousness.
The breath is the link between the mind and the body, and with it, prana is absorbed. Pranayama techniques purify the body, calm the nervous system, focus the brain, and cultivate a feeling of spaciousness and physical and mental serenity.
Some pranayama techniques also have a revitalizing effect, ideal for this time of year. The most recommended breathing technique in winter is Kapalabhati (which means “head that shines”) since it purifies and, at the same time, warms the body.
3. How to Perform Kapalabhati Breathing
Kapalabhati consists of a deep inspiration followed by a forced expiration in which the abdominal muscles contract rapidly. This exercise is done sitting down. Pick a comfortable posture and start:
- Initiate the breath with a wide inhalation
- Perform a series of sharp, rapid exhalations, contracting your abdominal muscles toward your spine. In this way, the muscles push the diaphragm into the lungs again and again. The air is expelled noisily through the nose as if it were a bellows.
- At the end of the expiration, relax the abdominal muscles and let the air naturally and effortlessly.
- Restart the forced exhalation process.
After three to five cycles of 10 exhalations, the body feels alive and the mind more serene and awake.
4. Precautions for Best Yoga
It is not advisable to practice longer series if it is not supervised by someone experienced since this breathing is intense.
People with a weak constitution and low lung capacity should not attempt this breathing. Neither do those who suffer from eye and ear ailments or those who suffer from hypertension or hypotension.