Winter. Nature seems to stand still. Time to go inside: literally, but also figuratively. Like the plants and animals, in winter I feel the need for rest and slowing down, I instinctively want to scale back on myself and take good care of myself. And I also adjust my yoga routine: each season has its optimal postures and poses to maintain balance. In the winter, that’s Yin Yoga. It is my pleasure to share five tips for getting through the winter in harmony.
1. Yin Yoga
In Chinese medicine, the element of water takes center stage in winter. Therefore, in yoga we then pay extra attention to the associated kidney and bladder meridian. When these meridians are balanced, you feel tremendous buoyancy, wisdom and confidence. If they are out of balance, you may experience anxiety and stress. The remedy: a hearty dose of Yin Yoga.
Yin Yoga is static: we hold certain asanas for a long time, sometimes up to five or 10 minutes. Yin Yoga is good for the joints and connective tissue. It helps you relax, ease and reduce stress. Through the asanas, we seek resistance in a particular part of our body while completely relaxing the rest of our body. Postures such as the Cobra, the Sphinx and the Cat Cow specifically stimulate the kidney and bladder meridian.
2. Breathe and release
If you feel tension and stress taking over, breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth. Feel free to let go: groan, moan and cry. You will find that it helps you release tension and find peace in your head and body.
3. Keep it warm
When it’s cold outside, your body needs extra warmth. Do not eat raw food in winter, but warm, savory foods. A pumpkin soup, a tea with ginger and lemon, a casserole with sweet potato, … Don’t drink your water cold, but at room temperature or even hot. Put your lower back – your kidneys! – extra pampering with a cherry pit cushion. Curl up on the couch under a blanket, and take a hot bath regularly.
Unfortunately, for most of us hibernation is not an option, but adjusting our sleep rhythm is an absolute must. Try to go to bed at nine every night – every hour before midnight counts double – and get up at six. This way you will recharge your batteries, and be ready to blossom again in spring and summer.
5. Purifying outdoor air
Even though winter is dominated by turning inward, don’t forget to get outside every now and then. Look for nature, and try to pick up every ray of sunshine to boost your vitamin D levels. After that, you’ll enjoy that hot tea, that lovely blanket and that comforting cherry pit pillow all the harder.