Warming Winter Yoga Flow
The unusually warm weather Pittsburgh has been experiencing is finally put to rest. A thin layer of snow (and ice) has blanketed our city, temperatures are hitting the low-twenties, and hats, gloves and scarves have become a necessity. Many of us go into hibernation mode when the teeth-chattering chill of winter is in full effect. However, sedentary behavior actually lowers our internal body temperature, stiffens our joints, and tenses our muscles. Turn on your internal furnace and warm-up the right way with this winter-themed yoga flow:
Snow Dog (downward dog):
From standing position, come to the floor on your hands and knees. Walk out your hands so that they are a palm’s length in front of you. Tuck your toes, lift your knees off of the floor and push your hips up towards the ceiling to lengthen your spine. Push back so that your chest presses towards your thighs. Your body should resemble a V shape. Make sure your wrists are shoulder-width apart.
Arctic Moose (warrior I):
Transition into Arctic Moose position by swinging your right knee between your hands. Widen your stance and rotate your left foot 45 degrees towards the left wall. Push your torso up into an upright position while holding your lunge. Lift up your arms so that they run parallel between your head. Widen your fingers to resemble moose antlers and gently gaze towards the ceiling.
Snowboarder (warrior II):
From Arctic Moose position, swivel your body so that it is facing the left wall (the direction your left foot is facing). Rotate your left foot 45 more degrees so that your toes are pointed towards the left wall. Lower your arms to your shoulders so that they form a T-shape. Keep your palms face down and look in the direction of your front fingertips.
Figure Skater (warrior III):
Arrive back into Arctic Moose position (warrior 1). Hinge your hips forward and push your body weight into your front (right) foot. Slowly lift your back (left) thigh and point your back heel. Stretch out your arms in front of you and gradually shift your torso so that it forms a straight line with your back leg. Your torso and back leg should be perpendicular to your standing leg.
Downhill Skier (chair pose):
After challenging your balance with Figure Skater pose, join your feet together at the front of your mat. Sit back and down to mirror a chair or skiing position. Shift your weight towards your heels (you should be able to lift up your toes).
Penguin Pose (mountain pose):
For the final pose of this sequence, straighten your legs and stand with your feet together. Center your weight, put your arms to your side, and open your palms so that they face forward. Bring your pelvis into neutral position and elongate your spine. Your ears, neck, back, and legs should be in one straight line.
Do this yoga sequence least five times, holding each position for at least 30 seconds. Make sure to alternate between leading with the right or left foot. Have fun!
Disclaimer: This post is intended for educational purposes only; it is not intended to serve as medical or professional advice. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program to determine if it is the right fit for your unique needs. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and talk to a healthcare provider.
For more information on how to safely practice yoga, check out this website.
Photo 1: Pixabay: AndiPi
Photo 2: Flickr: Terri Oda
Photo 3: Pixabay: YogawithAmit
Photo 4: Flickr: Rosmarie Voegtli
Photo 5: Wikipedia Commons: OrenBochmen
Photo 6: Flickr: We Travel
Cover Photo: Pixabay:mohamed_hassan