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Five ways to stay well and find motivation and inspiration for yoga in winter

Natalie Snooke - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

As we settle into the cold and wet of winter, finding conscious ways to stay well, inspired and motivated through yoga makes a big difference to being our best, despite the weather.

Yes, we all love our creature comforts, especially in winter. We feel a strong need to retreat  - who doesn't love curling up on the couch when its cold outside. But rather than going into a complete lazy,winter stupor, let's stay mindful of our personal habits  -  and put in the extra effort to stay motivated as well as give ourselves the rest that we need.

Here are five ways to help you find your health, motivation and inspiration this winter. 

1. Adjust your yoga routine if you are sick

If you get sick, its the time to modify your approach to yoga, without giving up on it. 

As a general rule-of-thumb, if you're suffering from a head cold, yoga will help. Postures and movements will circulate the energy and uplift your vitality. Postures like legs-up-the-wall and bridge pose are excellent to keep the lymphatic system healthy.

If you have flu sysmptoms in the body (below the head) then bed rest is the best approach. Give yourself time for the body to heal. If you feel up to reading, you could use your bed-time to learn more about the theory, principles and philosophy of yoga. Here's a good place to start.

Then once you are well again, make the extra effort to get back to your yoga class or practice. Resist the mental tempation to give up on yourself or your yoga!

2. Keep Moving

Energy stagnation and fatigue is the cause of colds and flus. Regular exercise that invigorates and warms the body, without exhausting it, keeps our vitality alive.

Just as I write this blog, I'm watching the showers of rain come and go, and still planning for my afternoon walk. As well as a regular energising, flowing yoga practice, walking three afternoons a week throughout the winter is one of my exercise commitments. Walking in the wind, warm with my scarf, gloves, beanie and umbrella becomes a fun adventure, that uplifts my energy and my spirits each time. Making a walk-date with a friend or partner is also a lovely thing to do.

3.  Be organised rather than busy

Being organised means that we can set aside time for our priorities. It means that we can complete what needs to be completed and to feel the satisfaction that comes from that, rather than feeling the emptiness that often comes from mindless busy-ness. 

Spending a few minutes at the start of every week reviewing the week ahead is a good way to schedule-in what's important. Ask yourself what you need, taking into account your personal, family and work commitments. Once you've got a rough schedule, give yourself room for choices, yet stay true to what's most important to you. 

Be prepared to say a kind, yet sincere 'no' if extra activities mean that you get too busy or lose touch with your priorities.  

4. Create connections

If you suffer from the 'winter blues' chance are its from too much hibernation or time by yourself. It's easy to ruminate and get stuck in unhelpful thougths and feelings when we are alone.

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5. Make peace with the weather, just as it is

Have you noticed how complaining about the weather is disempowering? Accepting the winter weather, with all its volatility and extremes, keeps us on our toes. It makes us pay attention to what is going on each day. If we make friends with the winter, it will gift us in return. 

As a wise meditation teacher once said: "rain isn't good or bad, it is just wet." What can you learn to love about the winter? 

 

5. Time to retreat

Winter is the natural season of hibernation, contempation and reflection. Its when the whispers of our wisdom can be heard. Allowing personal time for activities like journalling, reflective reading or meditation helps us to sort-through the busyness in our minds and get in touch with some of the deeper heart desires that we might have been overlooking.

Sunday mornings are my personal retreat time. When I 'go into my cave' so-to-speak with my journal, favourite music and a cup of chai.





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