With the days getting shorter and the weather becoming colder as the Winter Solstice slowly creeps up, it can feel like more of a challenge to take on the day’s tasks. Fatigue and sluggishness are common to experience this time of year—even among some of the most seasoned yogis.
Luckily, you can use your practice to boost your energy and feel refreshed. Look toward the following techniques to help bust you bust through your energetic rut and take on the day with eagerness and purpose!
Start Your Practice With Breath of Fire Pranayama
The way you breathe can certainly help calm and relax you, but it can also energize you—depending on how you do it.
Breath of Fire or Kapalabhati is a breathing technique that is particularly helpful during the colder seasons to help rejuvenate the respiratory system. It involves breathing rhythmically with short and fast exhales with passive exhales, which engages the core and increases the heart rate.
To see exactly how it’s done, follow this video tutorial from Yoga With Adriene.
Practice Your Sun Salutations
Comprised of 12 poses, sun salutation or Surya Namaskar involves moving the body in sync with the breath. It revitalizes all parts of the body and encourages the solar plexus to expand—the source of all our emotions.
While traditionally performed at sunrise on an empty stomach, sun salutations can be performed anytime of day. A faster paced sun salutation practice can have an intense cardio effect as it quickly builds heat, improves blood circulation, and strengthen the heart.
Take a Vinyasa
A vinyasa is typically known these days for connecting one pose to the next, helping yogis transition by using their breath and movement. Most yogis recognize it as flowing through plank, Chaturanga, upward facing dog or cobra and then downward facing dog.
The benefit of taking a flow between poses is that it gives you a little extra blood-pumping challenge and and breath work. You can take a flow during practically any transition, although it’s probably best known these days for being an integral part of Surya Namaskar A and B.
Practice Your Favorite Inversion
Needing an energy boost makes a good excuse for you to practice your headstand, forearm stand, or handstand. Getting upside down will stimulate the nervous system and make you feel more alert as blood flow increases to the brain.
Make sure you practice these inversions safely—taking care to always put proper alignment first and using a wall if necessary. Not ready for any of these inversions? No problem! Downward dog or dolphin pose can have the same effects.
Practice Your Favorite Backbend
Backbends open the heart, which can be pretty energizing and invigorating on their own. They can boost your mood, help relieve any bottled up stress, and wake your whole body and mind up.
Bow pose is great because it supercharges the effects of easier backbends like cobra or upward facing dog. Of course, if you really want to go all out on your backbend, you could do wheel pose (near the later part of your practice after you’ve fully warmed yourself up). If wheel pose is a serious challenge, start or stick with bridge pose if you’re working your way up to it!