Feeling a Little Chilly? These Yoga Poses Will Help You Stay Warm This Winter
Do you shiver all winter long? Adding a yoga session to your daily routine will keep you warm and cozy during low temperatures.
How Yoga Warms Up the Body
Protecting your core temperature is your body's priority when you're exposed to the cold. Blood flow increases to your brain, heart, and the organs in your chest and abdomen, while flow decreases to your skin, arms, hands, legs, and feet. Blood not only delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body's cells but also helps keep you warm. When blood flow decreases, you're bound to feel a little colder.
If you're a woman, you may have noticed that you feel the cold more intensely than your male friends or family members. Cold weather sensitivity is due in part to the difference in muscle mass between males and females. Men have more muscle mass, which allows them to produce more heat and experience less heat loss than women.
Heat differences don't just affect humans but are common in other species of animals too. Israeli scientists who studied thousands of species of birds and bats discovered that males preferred colder temperatures while females liked spending time in warm places.
No matter your gender, yoga will help you stay warmer by:
- Improving blood circulation
- Increasing muscle mass
- Raising your metabolism (metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories to generate energy and heat)
4 Yoga Poses That Bring on the Heat
The next time you feel winter's chill, try a few of these poses:
Seated Breath with Movement
This simple pose generates plenty of heat, according to Yoga Journal. Start the pose by sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position, then:
- Inhale and raise your arms upward, extending them completely. Lengthen your spine, and keep your fingers spread apart.
- Exhale, draw your hands into fists, then lower your hands to your sides with your elbows bent.
- Inhale and raise your arms again.
- Repeat the movements for five to 10 breaths.
Standing Forward Bend
This pose generates heat, increases circulation, and gently stretches muscles in your back and legs. When you perform the standing forward bend pose:
- Start in a standing position with your hands on your hips or above your head.
- Bend your knees slightly as you reach for the floor with the palms of your hands. (If you can't touch the floor, use blocks to support your hands.)
- Keep your back straight and release the tension in your neck, back, and shoulders.
- Inhale and exhale deeply for 5 to 10 counts before returning to the starting position.
Extended Puppy Pose
All downward-facing yoga poses, including the extended puppy pose, increase circulation and generate heat. Begin this pose on all fours with your wrists below your shoulders and your hips over your knees. Follow these steps:
- Move your hands several inches in front of you and lower your upper body toward the floor.
- Press your forehead against the mat. (Use a bolster, pillow, or folded towel to support your head if needed.)
- Straighten your elbows and forearms.
- Lengthen your spine, relax your neck, and keep your hips pointed upward.
- Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Slowly move your hands back to your original position.
Planks strengthen your core, increase your metabolism, improve your posture, and decrease back pain. Follow these steps to perform the pose:
- Start the pose on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders.
- Move your feet backward until your legs are fully extended and your weight is resting on your hands and toes. (Keep your knees bent and on the floor if you can't hold the position with your legs fully extended.)
- Keep your back and head in a straight line as you hold the plank pose. (Tightening your abdominal muscles will help you keep your back straight.)
- Inhale and exhale slowly for 5 to 10 breaths. As your stamina improves, you may be able to hold the plank pose for several minutes.
- Bring your knees under your hips to return to the starting position.
Yoga classes banish winter chills and help you keep your mind and body strong. Contact us if you're interested in keeping warm with a yoga class this winter.
Wiley Online Library: Global Ecology and Biogeography: An Alternative Hypothesis for the Evolution of Sexual Segregation in Endotherms, 9/14/21
Yoga Journal: How to Winterize Your Yoga Practice and Build Heat Fast, 2/9/19
Real Simple: 6 Simple Yoga Stretches That Melt Away Tension, 3/22/21