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Always Cold? Practice This Warming Winter Yoga Sequence

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Have you ever noticed your muscles feeling tighter in the winter? Bundling up and hunching away from the cold causes contraction in the body, which in turn, often leads to physical discomfort in the shoulders and spine.

Similarly, shortened days and cooler temperatures can also have a negative effect on other areas of everyday life including sleep, mental health, and motivation.

To mediate that experience, we recommend turning to a winter yoga sequence that inspires you to bring heat back into the body.

These Yoga Poses Will Help You Combat the Winter Blues

From gently opening the heart and hips to realigning you with your breath, there is always something to be gained from leaning into your practice.
 

 
 

Practice This Winter Yoga Sequence to Warm You on the Coldest of Days:

Not sure where to start? Here’s a quick winter yoga flow to get you started.
 

1. Seated Side Stretch

Seated Side Strech

Stretch out your side body with this simple pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin in a comfortable seat (Easy Pose) with your legs crossed
  • If this is not accessible to you, feel free to slide blocks under your knees to support your lower body or extend your legs out in front of you
  • Place your right hand to the floor with your elbow slightly bent
  • Take your left hand over your head and stretch gently to the right
  • Rotate your gaze up toward the ceiling and remember to keep your seat rooted into the mat
  • Repeat on the other side

 

2. Seated Spinal Twist

Seated Twist

Unwind your tense muscles with this gentle twist.

Let’s try it:

  • From Easy Pose, inhale and take both arms up overhead
  • Relax your shoulders down away from your ears
  • On your exhale, take your right hand to your left knee and your left arm gently behind your body
  • Inhale with your heart facing forward, then on your exhale, begin to twist toward your back left arm
  • Inhale to bring your arms back up to the sky, and repeat on the other side

 
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3. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

Cat

Cow

Start to build heat in your body with this simple flow that’s perfect for winter yoga.

Let’s try it:

  • From Easy Pose, roll over your knees onto all fours
  • Be sure to check in with your body here. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your hips should be over your knees
  • Splay your fingers wide, and root into your palms
  • Push the floor away to activate your core
  • On your next inhale, drop your belly, tuck your toes, and lift your chin toward the sky into Cow Pose
  • On your exhale, round your spine, tuck your chin, and flatten your feet to the floor into Cat Pose
  • With every round of breath, allow your spine to lead as you create space in both your front and back body

 

4. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

DownDog

Continue building heat as you add more complexity to your winter yoga sequence.

Let’s try it:

  • After moving through a few rounds of Cat/Cow, bring your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, and once again, spread your fingers wide
  • Root into all four corners of your palms as you begin to lift your knees off the floor and tuck your toes under
  • Gently pedal out your feet and turn the eyes of your elbows toward the front of the room
  • Bring your head in line with your shoulders and shoot your hips up and back as you energetically send your heels toward the floor
  • Straighten your legs and bring your gaze toward your shins
  • Breathe to lengthen your tailbone and lift your seat toward the sky

 

5. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)

Plank

Much like preparing for a push-up, Plank Pose fires up your core and requires you to stack your body, thereby engaging your abdominals to add even more heat to your winter yoga sequence.

Let’s try it:

  • From Downward Facing Dog, roll your weight forward into a high Plank
  • Align your shoulders over your wrists
  • Engage your core and kick back through your heels
  • If you have an established practice, feel free to follow this up with a “vinyasa” by lowering into Chaturanga and lifting into Upward Facing Dog. Otherwise, simply return back to Down Dog

 

6. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Chair

Chair Pose is the ultimate winter yoga pose because it instantly builds heat in your legs, core, and arms.

Let’s try it:

  • From Down Dog, step or hop to the top of your mat
  • With your feet together, squeeze your legs as you bend your knees and let your fingers graze the floor before stretching your arms overhead
  • Slightly sit back into your heels, taking pressure off of your toes
  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears and sink deeper into your seat
  • Breathe as you find strength through your legs and core, noticing a sense of grounding coming from the bottoms of your feet
  • On your exhale, fold over your legs and step your left foot back

 

7. Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low Lunge

Build even more heat with some Lunges.

Let’s try it:

  • With your left leg behind you, drop your back left knee gently to the floor
  • With your hands framing your front foot, check in to make sure your right knee is situated directly over your ankle
  • As you inhale, bring your hands onto your front thigh
  • On your first exhale, gently push into your leg, allowing you to sink a bit deeper into your pelvic floor
  • If you notice pain or strain in your low back, activate your left leg by pushing it deeper into the mat
  • When you’re ready, take your arms overhead, continuing to lengthen on your inhale and sink on your exhale
  • Bring your hands to frame your front foot, and prepare to transition into your next pose

 

 
 

8. Peaceful Warrior Pose (Shanti Virabhadrasana)

Peaceful Warrior 2

Build more fire in your legs, core, and arms with Peaceful Warrior Pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Cartwheel your arms up and overhead as you enter into Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
  • Your right foot should be facing the front of the room, while your back foot should be parallel with the end of your mat
  • Bend into your front knee, making sure you can see at least your first two toes
  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears as you gaze over your front hand
  • On your inhale, flip your front palm toward the ceiling, and exhale, to reach it up overhead, creating space in your heart
  • Your left hand can settle on your back hamstring
  • After a few rounds of breath, exhale to cartwheel your hands down to frame your front foot, and prepare to transition into your next pose

 

9. Wild Thing or Flip Dog (Camatkarasana)

Wild Thing

Fire yourself up in the peak of your practice with this very heating winter yoga pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Extend your front foot up to the sky and take a pitstop in Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog
  • Bring your chest toward your standing leg as you extend your top toes toward the ceiling
  • Stabilize your shoulders by splaying your fingers and rooting your palms equally into your mat
  • On your exhale, begin to bend your top knee and open your hip, keeping the upper half of the body in place
  • Take your time, allowing your hip to continue opening
  • You can stay here, or eventually, allow the toes of your top right foot to meet the floor, flipping your chest toward the ceiling
  • When you’re ready, safely transition back into Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog by engaging your core and pushing your bottom hand into the mat to flip your leg from the floor back up to the sky
  • Feel free to take a “vinyasa” here or pause in Downward Facing Dog before repeating this sequence of poses on the other side

 
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10. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

childs pose

Start to release some of the fire and unwind with this gentle release.

Let’s try it:

  • Once you’ve taken your flow on both the right and left sides, drop your knees for Child’s Pose
  • Bring your toes together, and separate your knees to the width of your mat
  • Sit back, reaching your seat toward your heels as you stretch your arms forward
  • Relax here for a few deep breaths

From this resting pose, feel free to take a few additional movements or transition straight into Corpse Pose (Savasana). For Savasana, lay down on your back with your arms by your sides and close your eyes. Surrender here for as long as you’d like to fully absorb all the warmth of this winter yoga sequence. 

Warm Up With This Heating Winter Yoga Sequence

Remember, this flow is just a jumping off point for you to dive deeper into your needs, both on and off the mat. So make it your own.

After all, the goal of yoga is to explore!

Let us know in the comments how you enjoyed this quick winter yoga sequence, and what other poses your body craves in the winter.

This article has been read 1K+ times. Feelin’ the love!

Comments

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Sam Maracic is a freelance wellness writer and yoga teacher based in New York. Her work has been featured on CBS, MindBodyGreen, Bustle and more. Sam's first book "We Are Like Wells" is available now on Amazon.com.

sammaracic.com

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