Happy and healthy through the winter with yoga

Are you a real winter grouch? Do you get cold as soon as the thermometer drops below 23 degrees? Here are ten tips to help you make the cold winter months your favorite time of year!

1. Find your winter morning ritual

Getting up is much more difficult in winter than in summer. The darkness and the cold make the body and mind stiff and devoid of energy. This makes it all the more important to have a morning routine at this time of year that will help you get your day off to a great start!

These can include a ginger tea, deep breathing at the open window, alternating showers and massages, stimulating aromatic oils (such as orange), a nourishing, warm breakfast (perhaps a pomegranate-mandarin porridge ), and a positive mantra that you can brush your teeth in the morning repeat. How about “I love the winter months!”?

And of course, a proper morning ritual also includes a short yoga session that awakens your spirits - try this short morning routine with Annika Isterling: 

2. Your winter highlights - from the sweat lodge to the snow party 

Anyone who spends the winter looking forward to a beach holiday on the other side of the world or the next summer is missing out on the beautiful side of winter. Even if you prefer the warm season: Write a list of things that you like and that are best implemented in winter - and then spread them out over the winter months so that you can always look forward to one. 

These can be activities as obvious as skiing or baking cookies with friends. Or maybe you fancy a sweat lodge session with a shaman or a silent retreat in the mountains? Or you throw a winter party with mulled wine and soup, a light show and patio heaters, tobogganing, and building a snowman!

yoga in winters

3. Spend time in nature

YogaEasy program: Live healthier lives with Yoga and AyurvedaIn winter you are more drawn to the couch than outside. It is extremely beneficial to spend time in nature, even in the cold months. So it's best to go out for half an hour every day - be it on the way to work or on a walk with one of your loved ones - and plan a trip to a particularly beautiful natural landscape every weekend if possible!

This not only has the great side effect that you slowly get used to the falling temperatures but your immune system can optimally adjust to the cold season so that you have to fight colds less often. A brisk walk also lifts your spirits and makes your red cheeks. And gray foggy landscapes make coming home really hyggelig.

Perhaps while walking you will also notice how beautiful the world is in winter, with its muted colors, the hoarfrost layer that makes everything seem unreal, and the flocks of birds in the sky. Or the cloud cover suddenly breaks up and you are surrounded by warming rays of the sun. If you then have a proper snowball fight with your companion, you might not find the cold season so stupid anymore.

4. Warm-up: Bikram yoga, sauna, and bathtub

Sometimes it's so cold that you don't even want to get warm. Then there is nothing better than a visit to a wonderful sauna landscape, a thermal bath, a hammam - maybe with a massage or beauty treatment? If you shy away from public baths - a hot bathtub, maybe for two, also heats up nicely.

Not to forget: Those who do yoga regularly not only activate the sluggish winter metabolism but also ensure good blood circulation throughout the body and thus pleasantly warm feet. The best yoga style for the cold season is of course Bikram yoga - where you practice at 40 degrees room temperature!

If you don't have a Bikram yoga studio around the corner: Try this strengthening flow for strength and balance from Nina Heitmann!

Yoga Video Strengthening Flow: Strength and BalancePlay YogaEasy video

5. There is no such thing as bad weather ...

... there are only wrong clothes! If you freeze to yourself in thin jackets and fabric skirts all winter, you will almost inevitably develop an aversion to the cold months. Better: Buy cozy, warm boots, the fanciest wool skirt, and the coolest woolen gauntlets. And then a thick, cozy winter coat that you don't even want to take off. Yes, if you're particularly frozen, you can even buy yourself a fancy snowsuit - and wear it shamelessly off-piste too.

When your new winter collection is hanging in the closet, you will be happy when it gets colder and colder so that you can finally carry it out!

6. The when-will-it-finally-warm-up project: cleanout or learn Italian?

Sometimes it seems like winter never ends. In December everyone is still busy with Christmas, but January and February will pass faster if you devote yourself to a small project close to your heart. Find a task that you enjoy, that has perhaps been burning under your nails for a long time, and that you lack the leisure for in the warm half of the year.

Maybe you want to deepen your yoga practice - finally read the Bhagavad Gita, visit a few (online) workshops and work on the handstand? Or do you summarize your best pictures in a thick photo book, learn Italian or try your hand at the art of macramé? 

It is especially good to do good: Find a voluntary job in which you can contribute optimally, which brings you together with new people and gives you the feeling that you can really make a difference.

winter with yoga

7. Go inside yourself: smoking, rituals, rough nights

The best thing about the seasons is that each phase of the year has its own qualities. Winter is a time to contemplate - it offers time for everything that had no place in the warm months between the barbecue party and the swimming lake. 

The winter months are the ideal time to look back on the past year and to adjust to the coming - to process and let go of what has happened, to visualize and prepare new goals. Feel inside yourself: what was neglected during the summer? Where do I want to go

Yoga offers effective techniques to let go of the old and draw new energy. Especially the rough nights, i.e. the time between December 24th and January 6th, are perfect for such processes. So you can detoxify very effectively on a physical level with special yoga detox sequences, yogic cleansing techniques, and a yogic diet. And meditations are valuable if you want to let go of old ballast of a mental or emotional kind.

Ayurveda expert Dr. Janna Scharfenberg through a cleansing meditation to let go:
Yoga Video Purifying Ayurveda meditation to let goPlay YogaEasy video
The time between the years is also a good time to clean out the apartment and carry out cleaning rituals, for example smoking it with sage on New Year's Eve. 

8. Bring warmth into your life with Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, the science of (long) life, winter is characterized by Vata quality. In other words, cold, airy, dry, unsteady properties are particularly dominant now. This can be noticeable through dry skin, a weak immune system, or the winter blues. We now often long for the qualities of Kapha - that is, calm, stability, constancy, and retreat.

To get through the winter well, avoid anything that could increase Vata. These include, for example, dry, cold, light foods such as raw vegetables, as well as stress and hectic rush. Instead, rely on warm, earthy, nutritious foods such as stews, nuts, or dried fruits. So that the hearty meals are not too heavy in your stomach and you still get through the pre-Christmas period with a light feeling, you can make them more tolerable with spices such as pepper, cumin, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, liquorice, cinnamon, turmeric or chili. 

Here you will also find the recipe for the so-called golden milk, which not only warms and helps you fall asleep but also activates your metabolism and your immune system!

With yoga through the winter golden milk

Not only is the climate now cold and dry - but you can also physically feel Vata in every pore of your body: The skin is often dry, hands and feet are cold and the joints feel stiff and immobile. Now every morning massage your entire body lovingly with warm sesame oil and then shower briefly and not too hot. These grounds make the skin supple and loosen tense and painful limbs.

9. Take off the pace: Yin Yoga, couch, and chilling out

December, in particular, can be really exhausting - annual financial statements, Christmas preparations and the like go into energy. Most of us have less power in the winter months anyway. What you need now are breaks, real rest, and deep relaxation.

Therefore, do not exert yourself too much in yoga. Like to warm up with a few sun salutations - but make them consciously mindful and so slowly that you don't get out of breath. Otherwise, practice asanas that gently warm you up and stimulate your agni like the rotating seat, and heating pranayama like kapalabhati.

Yin Yoga is also ideal for recharging your batteries. This sequence by Tanja Seehofer helps when you feel exhausted:

Yoga Video Yin Yoga for exhaustion: recharge your batteriesPlay YogaEasy video
And when you're done with yoga, snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to a relaxing audiobook ...

10. In short: accept that you are different in winter than you are in summer

Trees and animals adjust to different seasons - it is no different with humans either. Do you always gain a little weight in winter? That is normal, even makes sense. Of course, you are paler and, no, the solarium is not an option. You are likely to have had more colds - this shows you that your body is adjusting to new circumstances. And almost certainly you won't have as much momentum and energy as you did in summer. 

Take all of these as gifts. Be happy that you can show a softer side, that other colors suit you, that you need more rest. Change is life.

Warning: what if you feel really bad in winter?
It is normal to have a little less energy in winter than in summer. But if you can hardly get out of bed for months, then let your doctor or alternative practitioner check you out. Because maybe you have an iron or vitamin D deficiency or an underactive thyroid. In addition to tablets, you can also support yourself with long walks in the winter sun, a balanced diet, and hormonal yoga.

Even if you notice that your mood is permanently below zero in winter, you should clarify this with an expert. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also popularly known as winter depression, is not uncommon and can be managed well with light therapy, psychotherapy, and medication. Don't forget: regular exercise is very beneficial, especially when you have depressive symptoms!

We wish you a wonderful winter!

Amelia James

Amelia James

Hello guys! I am Amelia James, a yoga practitioner by profession and a writer by heart. I have been a yoga instructor for the last 10 years. Now, I am investing some time in writing as well. Let’s catch up on some relaxing yet informative yoga topics!