November 27, 2016
When it’s wet and cold outside, your natural inclination might be to hibernate in front of the TV with a bunch of carb-loaded snack foods. While that picture does hold a certain amount of undeniable charm, consider another option – pulling out your yoga mat or, better yet, heading down to a local yoga class.
Yoga, in all its’ forms, is a natural aphrodisiac to counter the winter blues. In this article, we’ll uncover how it can help you to thrive during the dreaded New England winter.
photo credit: Hamza
If you suffer from joint pain, it’s going to get worse during the winter months. All types of yoga help to improve your joint mobility, but performing flowing form postures (Vinyasa) is especially beneficial. Such moves will enhance blood circulation, making the joints less stiff. It will also keep the joints warm, which will keep the muscles relaxed.
When practicing Yoga asana (postures) you generally breathe through your nose. The main reason that you do this is that, when you breathe in through the nose, the cold air from outside is warmed up as it travels through your nasal cavity and down the throat to the lungs. This keeps the lungs open, whereas cold air constricts them. A second benefit of breathing through the nose is that the nose actually contains a filtration system. This protects your respiratory system from allergens that could lead to a cold or flu.
Winter is generally unkind to the skin. Because we spend more time inside (and there are a lot of clouds around), we don’t get very much Vitamin D exposure from the Sun. Throw in such skin unfriendly factors as central heating, lack of humidity and cold air and the skin can end up dried out and lacking moisture.
During a hot yoga (or Bikram) session, you’ll be sweating, which is a great way to cleanse the pores of your skin. Your skin will also receive hydration, to reinvigorate the skin, giving it an enhanced texture.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can make a person feel more depressed during the winter months. It is prompted by the levels of melatonin in the body. The regulation of this hormone is controlled by patterns of light and darkness, which change during the winter months. Even if we don’t suffer from SAD, the vast majority if us feel more lethargic and less energetic.
Yoga is the ideal antidote for the winter blues. It has been shown that performing yoga sun salutations as part of your morning wake up routine will provide you with more energy and elevate your mood for the day.
The combination of winter allergens and stress put you at a higher likelihood of getting sick during winter. Practicing yoga is one of the best things you can do to relieve stress while boosting your immune system. Because yoga is performed at a slower, more controlled pace than most other forms of exercise, it is more soothing to the body.
Many positions that you assume in Yoga involve bending at the waist and inverting your body. These moves place the body in a position where the nervous system becomes very relaxed, thus enhancing the immune response.
Asana yoga also directly affects the spleen, located between the diaphragm and the stomach. Asana will effectively massage the spleen, with the result that overall function of this blood filtering and infection-fighting organ is improved.
During the winter time, we tend to clunk around outdoors in heavy clothing and thick boots. This can have the effect of throwing our proprioception and bodily alignment off kilter. This is especially true regarding the hips and glutes. Yoga sessions can help you to quickly regain your body’s balance.
Winter is always going to be a great time to enjoy TV on the couch with a little junk food. Yet, by adding regular yoga sessions to your winter routine, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor. As well as burning off those extra TV calories, you’ll be boosting your immune system, elevating your mood, replenishing your skin, overcoming joint pain and improving your respiration. Now, that’s a pretty impressive list of reasons to get off the couch!
Evolve Fitness offers a full range of yoga classes in Cambridge AND Framingham, MA, convenient for both city dwellers and Metro West residents. With yoga classes designed to accommodate everyone from beginners to seasoned yogi, you’ll surely find a session that suits your needs. We offer both Hatha and Vinyasa classes to suit your schedule.