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6 Ways Yoga Helps You Survive Winter

Winter in Smithfield, NC isn’t too bad – we usually don’t deal with extreme cold or heavy snow, and winters here only last a few months. That being said, we still have cold, damp weather, the trees and plants are all bare, and sunset is at 5:00 P.M. Not to mention, the colds and flu going around. 

Let’s face it – winter is no picnic!

The good news is that yoga can make winter much more bearable! That’s why I want to take the opportunity to share six ways yoga can help you survive the winter. 

Yoga Boosts Immune Health

One of the biggest struggles with winter are the endless colds and flu that are going around! As soon as someone around you sneezes, you just start counting down until you succumb to the illness, too. Instead of resigning yourself to sick days and soup, consider using yoga to support your immune health.

Not only does yoga reduce stress levels that deplete you, it can also strengthen your lymphatic system which is essential to ridding your body of toxins. By practicing yoga just a few days a week, you can reduce your risk of illness this winter. 

Doing Yoga Helps Beat Winter Blues

Whether you struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or you simply feel “down” during the winter months because you’re stuck inside and the gray days are dreary, yoga can help you get through it.

Not only does practicing yoga reduce stress and tension while allowing you to focus on positive energy, it can also work from a physiological standpoint. Yoga is thought to increase serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical in our brains that triggers positive feelings, while more intensive yoga practice can even release endorphins. Practicing a yoga routine a few times a week can help you shake those winter doldrums!

Tackle New Year’s Resolutions with Yoga

How many times do we resolve to lose weight, exercise, or be healthier in the New Year? Most people who make resolutions make them regarding health issues, and yoga is a terrific way to meet those goals! Not only is it a low-impact way to burn calories if you want to lose weight, it can improve your overall health and well-being. 

For people who resolve to live healthier in 2020, incorporating yoga into your routine is a great way to do it! While it is not an aerobic exercise, some studies show that yoga offers similar health benefits of aerobic exercise. Additionally, it can offer the following health benefits: 

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Regulates adrenal glands (which controls the release of cortisol, the “Stress Hormone.) 
  • Reduces blood sugar 
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol (the “Bad” cholesterol) and raises the HDL cholesterol
  • Improves your balance which reduces the risk of falls
  • Improves your sleep
  • Improves stress-related digestive problems

Yoga Helps You Beat the Cold Weather

While some people love cold weather, others find it a pain, literally! When we’re cold we tense up, so many people find themselves struggling with tight, aching muscles and stiff, sore joints. Again, it’s yoga to the rescue.

By warming your muscles and joints with gradual, low-impact movement, you can reduce the tightness you’re holding when you’re cold. Also, yoga helps you know where you hold tension within your body so you can focus specifically on the parts of your body you need to relax. 

Yoga can even help you prevent aches and pain in the first place. By moving your body through it’s full range of motion, you can support the cartilage between your joints and bones with nutrient-rich fluid, while improving your posture helps you avoid the tension and joint main that comes from slumping and slouching. 

Boost Your Energy with Yoga Practice

If one of your main struggles with winter is the lack of energy and feeling like you have to drag yourself through the day, yoga can naturally boost your energy. The breathing exercises (called pranayama) introduce more oxygen into the blood, which invigorates the mind and body, while the poses and movements can stimulate blood flow and circulation, increasing physical energy and reducing fatigue.

Clear Brain Fog by Doing Yoga

Yoga isn’t just about physical activity. In fact, the pranayama and meditation are just as essential as asana (the movement and poses) and can help you clear your mind of intrusive or distracting thoughts. By engaging in yoga regularly, you can increase your focus and banish the brain fog so you have improved mental clarity.

Visit Our Smithfield Yoga Studio for Your First Class!

If you’d like to banish the winter blues by giving yoga a try, we would love for you to join us at The Yoga Connection! We have several types of classes for beginners and those at advanced levels, and we also have yoga classes for seniors. Check out our schedule for times and class descriptions, or call us at 919-971-1431 to learn more!

Though introduced to yoga over 30 years ago, Martha has been teaching yoga since 2001. She received her 200 hour yoga training in 2003 and is now an E-RYT 500. Additional education: M.S. in Health Psychology, Integrative Health Coach and Mindful Awareness Meditation instructor (Duke Integrative Medicine), and over 800 hours of Yoga Therapy training. She has a school for 200 hour and beginning in the winter of 2014, a 300 hour advanced yoga certification which will award a cumulative 500 hour teacher training in compliance with Yoga Alliance. Martha's envisions yoga as a form of health, healing and well being for all people. Her students range from health professionals to yoga practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of the benefits of yoga. See all of our yoga classes.

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