Yoga for Cold Weather

by Marion Thornley


Yoga to boost the brain

According to the ancient philosophies of yoga and its sister science, ayurveda, the changing seasons allow different elements to dominate within the human body and its environment.

During autumn, there is an increase in the elements of space and air, and together with the cold temperatures of winter, this can bring imbalances to our circulatory systems.

The circulatory channels can become overactive and dry, or contract, causing an uneven distribution of heat in the body. In turn, this can affect the digestive system, which then slows down in its work of eliminating toxins and distributing nutrients to the rest of the body.

How can we keep our digestive and circulatory systems strong during winter to ensure we stay healthy enough to enjoy the crisp, sunny days that characterise the PO region?

First of all, don’t avoid going outside even if the weather looks most uninviting. If you dress up warmly, a brisk walk in the crisp air will be of benefit, both physically and mentally. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with plenty of exercise and appropriate rest, along with a diet of fresh food, goes a long way to staying healthy. In terms of diet, avoid products containing dairy and sugar, and try to keep your meals at regular times, without either indulging or depriving yourself of food. Eat warming foods and drinks, such as ginger tea, and avoid cold drinks.

A regular yoga practice will help to keep the body strong and supple, and if you have learned appropriate breathing techniques with a qualified teacher, a gentle breathing practice at the end of your asana (posture) work, will help to keep the lungs in good shape.

If you are suffering from a cold, or have a build-up of mucus, try these simple restorative poses that will help to open up the chest and relieve tension.

☀ Place on the floor a blanket or rug rolled into a long tube. You are going to lie down on top of this tube, with your shoulders dropping down each side of it to the floor. Your head can rest on the floor, and your legs can be straight or bent at the knees. Lie in this position for a few minutes, trying to breathe deeply into the rib cage.

☀ For the second position you will need a bolster or cushion, which you will place close to a wall. Position yourself so your bottom is on the bolster but with your sitting bones dropping down between the bolster and the wall. Extend your legs up the wall and relax the top half of your body on the floor, with arms out at right angles or above your head. Again, stay in the position for about 5 minutes.


Marian teaches yoga in Ceret and is particularly interested in the use of yoga as a tool for health and healing. For more information contact Marian on phone on 04 68 22 72 94 or see her website at


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