Differences Between Summer and Winter Yoga.
In summer and winter, our body lives by differing laws. The practice of yoga can bring more benefits, if it is adjusted according to the season.
In summer, when nature awakens, our body follows by activating all processes. Metabolism accelerates; the mood and overall tone improve.
At this time, there is no need for warming poses, which activate the energy of the body, such as standing, inverted, and hand balancing asanas. Instead, the practice of yoga should actively involve cooling asanas, e.g., forward tilts, twists, and mild backbends. In general, in order to avoid overheating during the summer season one should engage in tranquil, passive yoga performed in a calm pace.
Breathing practices are a big help in cooling off in the summer heat. Do pranayama most often. An example of cooling and soothing breath is the Chandra Bhedana practice (inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right). Focus on increasing the expiratory time.
In winter, we need to adjust our practice. All of nature falls asleep during the cold season. So do our bodies! We have to work hard to activate digestion, prevent the accumulation of toxins, boost immunity and increase energy levels!
Winter makes us spend some additional energy to keep ourselves warm. Many people are experience constant drowsiness, depression, and despondency during this cold and dark season. In winter, we often get sick. To cope with all these problems, the practice of yoga should be directed first to warm up and then to activate the internal organs.
The basic rules of the winter yoga.
Even if you are in a warm room, be sure to warm up your muscles before the actual practice. You might be willing to do Surya Namaskar or some other dynamic sequences; they enhance blood circulation, stabilize emotions, and strengthen the spine.
Dynamic yoga practice increases heart rate. This enhances the circulation of white blood cells that fight disease-causing bacteria and microorganisms. Therefore, winter yoga helps the body not to get sick.
However, overstimulating is not good either. It may result in weakening of the immune system, and make us prone to sickness. Make sure not to overwork.
Inverted postures and hand balances will improve blood circulation and restore vitality. Twisting postures slow down inflammatory processes. Forward and side bends, chest-opening, and restorative postures strengthen the digestive and immune systems.
Poses that reveal the heart area stimulate the blood circulation in the thymus gland, which produces T-lymphocytes, the main warriors of the immune system.
People who suffer from winter depression should focus on chest-opening poses, such as bow and camel.
In case of the mood swings, hand balancing postures prove to be of great effectiveness.
They provide lightness and energy to the mind and body.
Backbends are also of great help. Try, cobra, fish, or supported bridge.
TODAY’S TIP: For prevention of colds or the flu, perform the three postures – “Cobra”, “Fish”, and “Bridge” – once a day, every day. If you feel that you still get sick, start to do them twice a day. It will take you only five minutes a day and provide great benefits.