Sunday 3 January 2016

10 Tips for Winter Yoga

I'm a real nature girl at heart. I love being outdoors, and miss it when the weather forces me to stay inside for too long. That's why I take any opportunity I can get to head outside and soak up some vitamin D, feel the breeze on my skin and to gaze up at the blue sky.

Over the last week it's been absolutely gorgeous: sunny and clear, but with crisp temps barely over 0°C (32°F). Undeterred, I've been doing my practice outside anyway, and it's been amazing!
Here are my tips on how to brave the cold and enjoy your yoga practice amidst nature's beauty in the winter: 

1. Layers

My number one tip is to wear several layers. I like to tuck a shirt into my yoga pants, layer a couple more long-sleeved shirts over that and top it off with a vest and/or a cozy jacket. The layers keep your body heat in, and if you get too hot you can always lose a few items of clothing.

2. Fleece

My outermost layer is always fleece. I have two fleece vests and a couple of jackets, and they are the perfect clothes for winter yoga. Lightweight yet warm, they have enough flexibility not to hinder my movements in the least. It's perfect for outdoor yoga!

3. Socks

Cold feet will ruin the most perfect of days. No matter how much fun I'm having, when my feet get cold my mood goes down rapidly. But there is a simple solution: socks! Throw on your fuzziest of fuzzy socks, and enjoy your practice with warm and happy toes!

4. Hat

Hats are a lifesaver in the winter. When  your head and ears are warm, you feel warm all over! They are especially useful when there is a slight wind, plus they keep your hair out of the way. Win/win! 

5. Sunny spot

Even in January, the sun is still powerful enough to give off some warmth. Particularly after several days of grey and rainy weather it's such a treat to feel the warm sunshine on your face! It's the best part about being outside.  

6. Gloves

This is clearly a case of do as I say, not as I do. I can't find my gloves, and mittens don't work (trust me, I tried). In the sun it's okay without them, but it sure would feel nicer to wear a pair.
Note to self: Find/buy gloves.

7. Thick yoga mat

I have two yoga mats: One I use strictly inside, and one for outside. This rule is necessary because my outside mat is dirty beyond description. I stumbled across my outside mat without knowing what to look for, but I got lucky: I found the perfect mat for my rugged outdoor practice. It is 5mm thick, which not only means that it's soft and cushioned, but also that the cold doesn't get through.

8. Don't mind getting dirty

At least if you have dogs jumping on your mat and yourself. I'm always covered in dog hair, so that's nothing new - but an outdoor practice in the winter adds muddy paw prints all over your clothes. In my opinion, totally worth it, because:

9. Keep other warm bodies close

The corgi is my little bodyguard, always making sure that the other dogs don't get too annoying. Snowy (the big white dog) has the tendency to get clingy, demanding attention by repeatedly pawing me and asking me for a good ear scratch. Lily the corgi keeps her in line. 

10. Still cold? Get them even closer

What's better than some effusive loving? Not much, my friends. These guys have my heart.

Do you like to exercise outside in the winter? What are some of your tried-and-true tips?


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