Ways to keep you warm this winter


By charlottedodson.tv | Thanks to atdusk phtography

Fire up the heater, put on those ugg boots and fill up your hot water bottle – the weather outside has taken a turn for the seriously chilly, with temperatures dropping dramatically on a daily basis, it seems. Winter really is here! But how can we stay in shape while simultaneously keeping our internal body systems warm and fully-functional this winter?


Our breath is the key to keeping us warm. Have you noticed that when you go for a run that stretches out over a long period of time, you’ll naturally begin to breathe through your mouth during the session? This is an instinctual physiological response that enables the body to cool down. As you breathe naturally through both nostrils, with your lips closed, this heats up your internal self and stores that heat within your body. Remember to stay rehydrated with plenty of water during the winter months too. You can try the following movements anywhere – waiting for a bus, queuing at an ATM, window shopping, wherever you are … your breath can keep you warm and serene, even as the air outside continues to drop in temperature.Throughout this next sequence of poses, ensure that your lips are closed and you breathe naturally through both nostrils. Notice how quickly your body heats up. Remember to breathe deeply throughout each movement, without hurrying your breath. On days when you think you have no time for yoga, try and do at least one or two rounds of the Sun Salutation. You’ll notice the difference in a variety of pleasing ways.
SUN SALUTATIONS  (Surya Namaskar)
Charlotte_Dodson-41The sun is known through human history as an illuminator and provider, and its radiant glow warms us up -hence the title given to this sequence, as it acts to internally warm our body up. Sun salutations are used regularly at the start of a yoga practice. Each movement is co-ordinated with the breath. Your inhale uplifts and opens, whereas your exhale contracts and folds down. You can bend your knees as much as you need to throughout your practice, which will take pressure off of your lower back. Keep your belly tucked into the spine to protect your lower back as you move. The sun salutations builds strength and flexibility. Complete the following cycle to feel revitalised and brighten up your whole day.There are various steps to this movement, with each flowing gracefully from one movement to the next, hold each pose for 1 breath (except in downward facing dog).
1. NATURAL BREATHS: Standing tall (Tadasana)
Start by standing at the top of your mat. Feet together, legs active and your arms lengthen down by your side or into prayer at the centre of your chest. Breathe deeply for a few breaths.
2. INHALE: Hands up
Raise your arms out to the side and up over your head, palms together as you look up to your thumbs (take your gaze down to the floor if your neck is sore). Arms straight, legs strong and ground your feet into the earth (knees soft if your back is tender).
3. EXHALE: Forward bend (Uttansana)
Draw your arms out to the side and down to the floor, fingertips or palms flat to the ground. Head towards your knees, keep knees bent slightly – especially if your lower back is sore.
4. INHALE: Half way lift
Lift up slightly onto your fingertips as you elongate your spine. Your legs are active, kneecaps lifting and hips lift up to the ceiling. Take your gaze forward, chin tucks slightly into your throat.
5. EXHALE: High plank to knees and chest
Plant your hands flat into the floor, shoulder distant apart, your knees can bend more as you need to. Step or jump back one leg distant, toes tuck under as you gracefully lower from high plank to your knees and chest or you can lower the whole of your front body to the floor.
6. INHALE: Chest lift
Charlotte_Dodson-71Lower your front body to the floor, keeping hands by your rib cage, lift your chest “a little” way, your hands can lift off the floor too (this way you know not to lift too high where you can dip into your lower back). Shoulders roll away from your ears. Tuck your chin gently into your throat.
7. EXHALE: Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Strongly press your hands, arms active as your lift up onto your knees, toes tuck under and lift your hips up into downward facing dog. This is like a triangle, feet, hands and hips working actively. Feet are hip distant, your outer foot is inline with the outer part of the mat, and your hands are shoulder distant apart (your middle finger facing forward). Look to your navel as you keep your ears inline with your upper arms. This pose fully energises you and gives you vitality. Hold and breathe deeply into the pose for 5 long mindful breaths. If this feels too strong, you can drop to your knees at any time.
8. INHALE: Step to your hands, half way lift
From downward facing dog, step or jump towards your hands at the top of your mat. Feet together or hip distant apart, lifting up to your fingertips, legs active as you gaze forward.
9. EXHALE: Fold forward (Uttanasana)
On your exhale, fold forward with your head towards your knees as you lengthen your spine. Remember you can bend your knees at much as you need to in his movement.
10. INHALE: Hands up
Swing your arms out to the side and up to prayer above your head. Take your gaze upward if your neck feels good.
11. EXHALE: Standing tall (Tadasana)
Come back to your standing mountain pose at the top of your mat. This is one sun salutation. Repeat a few more times to build your endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility. This sequence gives your an inner glow that shines through to your outer self.
12. Rest and relax (Savasana)
Charlotte_Dodson-246After your sun salutations, have a glass of water to rehydrate and then cover yourself with a blanket to stay warm when laying in savasana. As your body relaxes completely, your temperature drops. Allow your body to rest and relax onto your back, especially after this routine. Let your arms and legs roll out to the side naturally and breathe deeply for 5 minutes. It’s as important to consciously rest as it is to work and play!After savasana, roll out to the right side and come up into a cross legged sit. Take a few quiet moments with your hands folded in prayer, eyes closed – be grateful for all that you have, and all that you are.
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