Each year, I silently pray that the seasons will miraculously decide to eliminate winter from their annual line-up, and every year, I am immediately disappointed AF when snow is in the forecast yet again. Can you tell I despise the cold? Well, if it wasn't already clear, I definitely do, and flowing through yoga poses that keep you warm is the only strategy I know that will help me make it through yet another frigid season.
As a yoga teacher, I am a firm believer that there is a yogic way to help heal almost any ailment, or any struggle that people may face. From pesky, recurrent lower back pain, to pangs of stress and anxiety, to not wanting to spend a sh*t-ton of money on a heating bill, there is, indeed, a yoga pose (or a few) for that. Do I sound like an infomercial yet?
On the real though, if you religiously wear sweatpants over leggings from late November all the way until spring, these warming yoga poses are a must to get your body nice and toasty ASAP.
The next time the snow is falling outside your window, and you're shivering beneath the confines of your aggressively thick blanket burrito, unbundle yourself, roll out your mat, and try using these six yoga poses to keep you warm.
1. Plank Pose (Kumbhakasana)
Plank pose isn't just an abdominal workout featured in challenging core circuits; it's also a staple in yoga flows because of its shoulder-strengthening, spinal-toning properties.
If you think planks are kind of blah, rest assured, there are plenty of ways to play around and keep things interesting. If your wrists are acting up, you can drop down to your forearms for a modified version. However, if you'd like to amp the asana up and build more heat, you can try including some shoulder taps by lifting alternating arms while the rest of your body remains steady.
You can even eliminate an arm and slip into side plank if you're feeling daring. Have fun with it, and pretty soon, you'll begin to forget you were even feelin' chilly at all in the first place.
2. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Chair pose by itself is a great way to build strength all over your body and, yes, heat you up from head to toe. But when you add a twist to the equation, you'll be adding even more warmth by amping up the challenge and executing loads of focus.
Standing twists cleanse and detoxify your entire body, and gradually raise your internal temperature in the process. Make sure that you maintain proper alignment as you attempt to twist deeper into this pose. Breathe deeply through the twist and savor the warmth that it brings.
3. Headstand (Sirsasana)
The focus and core engagement required in a headstand builds a great amount of heat, and it's absolutely ideal for when the temps drop way down low. This asana strengthens the entire body while calming the brain, and provides a welcome shift to your everyday, upright perspective.
If you're just starting out with inversions, try practicing against a wall or with the help of a teacher or fellow yogi.
4. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Backbends are another great way to activate that internal heat without doubling the amount you owe in your bills for the month.
This yoga pose is a gentle backbend for beginners that prepares the body for future, deeper back-bending. If you can manage to hold the pose for a bit longer than usual, while really engaging your thighs and glutes, you might just work up a sweat.
Pretend that you're squeezing an imaginary block between your thighs to avoid any unnecessary pressure on your lower back. Close your eyes and maintain even, deep breaths as you lift your hips higher and open your chest and upper back.
5. Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
This is another amazing preparatory pose when you're working toward deeper backbends. Doing a few rounds of locust pose will really activate your inner heat while giving your body a hell of a workout.
This bad boy strengthens the back of your torso, the length of your spine, your legs, and your arms. It may be difficult to hold locust pose at first, but if you regularly include it in your winter practice, you'll start to feel stronger (and warmer) than ever. In fact, you'll probably be more than ready for some advanced backbends come spring.
6. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Strengthening your abdominals and hip flexors while simultaneously maintaining your balance is no easy feat. Boat pose will warm you up in an instant, and there are so many variations you can include to build even more heat in the process.
Try rotating your hands back and forth on either side of you to work your obliques, or straightening your legs toward the ceiling for even more of a full-body burn. Keep your lower belly tight, and lift your chin slightly, lengthening your neck and maintaining even breaths throughout this challenge.
Hey, winter may be coming, but boat pose is here to the damn rescue, my friends.