Winter Yoga in the Channel Islands – How To Practise Outside When It’s Cold
There’s something special and magical in enjoying a yoga session outside, surrounded by nature. It connects you to the earth on a deeper level, and makes staying in the present moment easier, as you can listen to the sounds of birds singing, trees dancing with the wind, or a river flowing in the creek.
But what about winter?
During colder months, we tend to spend much less time outside, and usually take our exercise indoors.
However, spending time outdoors is even more important in the winter, when we’re getting much less sunlight. Not getting enough sun is one of the main reasons why many are going through winter depression.
If you are looking for another way to spend more time outside in winter to feel better both physically and mentally, yoga can help you with that. There are many yoga practices which can warm you up, and ways to make your outdoor sessions just as enjoyable as they are in the summer.
Practicing winter yoga outside will be much easier if you dress up for the task. Make sure you dress in layers, so you can adapt your clothing when you get warmed up.
You can also take a small blanket with you so you can stay warm up during the cool-down portion of the class. Don’t forget to protect your head and feet with a warm hat and socks.
Take It Easy
There is something about winter that makes us slow down.
You can use this energy of winter in your outdoor yoga practice, too.
Instead of forcing a full 90-minute class, just going through a couple of your favourite positions while enjoying the view might be enough to make your day.
Also, practicing in the same way you would in a warmer setting may be dangerous, so focus on standing poses and dynamic sequences.
Sun Salutations are a fantastic option for this – they were originally created to build heat in the body. Best of all, when outside, you can perform them while facing the sun, just like the old sages.
Focus On Your Breath
Breathing is just as important in yoga as movement. In the winter, you can use yogic breathing techniques (pranayama), to warm you up.
One of the best techniques for warming up the body is Kapalabhati, often also called the Breath of Fire.
In this exercise, the breaths are rapid, with a passive inhale and a forceful exhalation combined with a contraction of the lower abdomen.
After performing about 30 breaths, take an inhale, hold for a couple of seconds and release.
You can repeat this or any other breathing exercise of your choice for as many cycles you need until you feel warm.
When you’re actually exercising, keep focusing on every inhalation and exhalation, and allow your breath to guide you through the poses.
Even if you’re not in the mood to perform any physical exercises outside, you can still practice yoga by meditating. Meditation is one of the core parts of yoga and is something we can do anywhere and anytime.
Find a spot in nature where you feel drawn and take a moment to soak in everything you see and hear around you.
Simply being present in this way will help shift your mood even after a couple of minutes, while staying consistent with your meditation practice may help you overcome the winter blues completely.
Are you interested in more winter activities you can safely practise on the Channel Islands? Then don’t miss the following article: Winter cycling on the Channel Islands