What movements help ease winter stiffness?

Despite our natural inclination to stay inside rather than get out in the cold, we all have to brace the cold sometimes. It’s important to be aware feeling cold can create holding patterns in the body which tighten our muscles and make our bodies feel more tense and stiff.

You may find you prefer less active exercises in winter; it’s the perfect season to focus on activities that use less physical energy. During this time of year, it’s our natural tendency to feel like we have less energy. In fact, a milder form of hibernating actually benefits our bodies and minds.

As your body and mind go inward during these winter months, here is a restorative twist to ease tightness and help you relax. Follow these steps:relax twist image

  1. Set a bolster, pillow or blankets (any soft mound to comfortably support your torso and head) on the floor.
  2. Sit next to your bolster, placing one edge against your left hip.
  3. Bend your knees 
to the left, turning toward the bolster to lie down, resting on your right cheek.
  4. Close your eyes. Let your arms relax on the floor 
or the bolster; there should be no dis­­comfort.
  5. Stay here for at least 2 minutes. Then switch sides.

You will experience a soothing effect on your nervous system because this pose 
activates a rest-and-digest response, which grounds the body and quiets the mind. This is essential to raising your inner energy so you will soon be ready to spring into action again. Not only will your tense muscles thank you for doing this twist, but your heart and mind will too.

If you’re looking for more yoga poses to help beat the winter blues, try this healing heart sequence from Yoga Journal.

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