Yoga For Winter Health

Discover how yoga practice can help you to maintain your winter health, so that you can enjoy the Christmas season and festivities without feeling rundown and weak.

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

The miserable, cold weather and extra illness going round at this time of the year means that there is even more reason to draw your energy inwards, and focus on reconnecting your mind and body so that you are more equipped to fight the challenges that the cruel winter season brings. Here are some of the ways in which regular yoga practice can benefit your winter health…

#1 Yoga Promotes Deep Sleep

woman sleeping

Regular yoga practice has a very positive effect on your sleep. This is important for your health, especially during the winter when there is more chance of you coming into contact with infection because of the higher density of people spending time indoors in the warmth, where germs spread more easily. Improved sleep is good for your winter health because your immune system does most of its restorative work on your body during deep sleep. Studies have shown that shorter-sleepers have a 50% increased risk of catch viral infections.

#2 Yoga is Better for Winter Health than Prolonged, Heavy Exercise

Yoga is much more relaxed form of fitness that focuses on strengthening muscles and improving flexibility and blood circulation, without putting unnecessary pressure on your body. This gentler form of exercise has less negative impact on your body, which is especially useful during the winter when you need to preserve your strength to fight illness. Studies show that prolonged and heavy exercise actually reduces immune efficiency. Yoga is often less intense and better suited to times when you are more vulnerable to catching a cold.

#3 Yoga is Healing

woman cold

When you are feeling under the weather, restorative yoga, which focuses more on meditation and the gentle stretching of muscles and opening of joints, can help to restore your energy and support the healing process, rather than exhaust you and leave you feeling even more tired and weak; and therefore prone to infection.

#4 Yoga Can Help With Seasonal Depression

In the dark, cold winter months, some of us suffer from what is known as ‘seasonal affective disorder’, which is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can make this problem more manageable by boosting energy and endorphins in the body that help to make you feel good. Yoga may also affect the level of serotonin in the body. An increase in serotonin has been shown to increase sociability in people suffering with depression.

#5 Yoga For Chronic Joint Pain in the winter

woman leg pain

Certain flowing types of yoga help to maintain joint mobility and increase blood circulation. In the winter time the cold weather is not good for people who suffer from joint pains. Yoga ensures that the body stays warm so that muscles can relax, and any stiffness will release.

#6 The Winter Yoga Glow

When winter strikes we close all of the windows and crank up the central heating, which means low ventilation and low humidity. The cool air and wind from outside also dries out the skin. A strong, heated vinyasa yoga practice will really make you sweat, which is the body’s natural way of cleansing the pores and hydrating the skin. You will sweat more, and so your body will have to work harder too; which means that your cardiovascular and respiratory functions increase, helping you to maintain a healthy body weight during the months when you tend to eat more and move around less.

#7 Yoga Reduces the Stress of the Season

The Christmas season is fun and merry, but it also comes with a lot of stress and pressure. Families come together in close proximity and personalities clash, children break away from school and parents have more to deal with at home, and money is flying out of your purse in all directions. Finding the time to practice yoga amidst all of the chaos helps to clear your mind of everything that is causing you stress, and draw your energy inwards, helping to rejuvenate and relax you. It provides that little bit of me-time we all need, in order to escape the seasonal madness. Plus, when the nervous system is relaxed, your immune system has a much better chance of fighting bacteria and viruses that can smell weakness a mile off!

#8 Keep Your Body Toned Ready For Your New Year’s Eve Outfit!


Cold weather doesn’t do much to encourage you to go out and get your exercise. You’re much more likely to stay in with a big mug of hot chocolate! Christmas festivities bring lots of yummy temptations your way too, so not only are you eating more in the winter anyway, but you are eating more of the wrong foods. Everybody puts on an extra inch or two, and then by the time Christmas is over it is a mad dash to shed all the extra weight with unhealthy crash dieting so that you can look fabulous in your New Year’s Eve Outfit! A healthy and challenging yoga practice once a day helps to keep your body in tune though, so that you can afford to indulge. Push yourself in your daily practice and make sure you keep your body toned over Christmas instead of crash dieting at the last minute.

#9 Regular Sun Salutations Will Keep You Warm in the winter

woman home yoga

Instead of turning up the heating and huddling, hunched up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and hot drink, use yoga to warm yourself up naturally, and stretch out your body at the same time. In the winter our bodies are prone to closing inwards and feeling stiff because we are tensing our muscles and fighting against the cruel winter chill, but actually you will feel much more mobile and ‘ready to go’ if you embrace the cold by being active in it, and create warmth from the inside out. So the next time you feel nippy, whip out your mat and do a quick sun salutation yoga sequence to speed up your heart rate and lengthen your body, so you are feeling flexible and energized, instead of chilly and withdrawn.

#10 Yoga Helps You To Slow Down to a More Natural Winter Pace

A lot of people get rundown in the wintertime because their pace of life quickens and they place more pressure on themselves to be sociable and take part in seasonal festivities such as shopping. Winter is a time when human beings should naturally retreat into their own worlds and take everything at a much slower pace though. Gentle yoga practice can help to slow things down and bring your attention back to what is more important – connecting your mind and body so that you can experience and appreciate everything that is happening in your life, instead of racing forward and missing half of it along the way!

How do you use yoga to improve your winter health?

Everybody has their own ways of dealing with the winter. Some of us aren’t as motivated to jump out of bed in the bitter morning to practice yoga first thing. How do you motivate yourself to keep up with your yoga practice when the weather is not so inviting? Do you have a specific routine that you stick to? Do you practice yoga with your partner?

About the author

Zara M.

I love to write, draw, take photographs, dance tango, write in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook and ogle other people’s Filofaxes. Oh – and I like LOTS of sugar in my tea! I want to inspire you, and show you the world through my eyes.

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