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Asana Practice on Cold Days

I know what it’s like to get out of a warm bed into a cold room on a winter’s day before you’ve had a chance to turn up the heater. Your body feels stiff and the last thing you feel like doing is a forward bend. On cold days I always take a hot shower before I start my asana practice. The hot water takes away the chill and melts away the tension I’ve been holding in my muscles from being cold. Then I pull on some comfy clothes for my asana practice and get onto my mat.

You can start with easy exercises to warm up your joints and get any kinks out of your neck, back, and shoulders. You can also get a full-body warmup with Salute to the Sun. Practice slowly at first, with awareness of how each part of your body feels as you move through the steps. This is helpful for deciding what poses to practice that day. Gradually, Salute to the Sun will build heat in your body and you can begin to do it a little faster before moving on to other asanas.

If you have a hard time doing Salute to the Sun, though—and many people do—there are still lots of other poses you can do that build heat. Squatting poses, Leg Lifts, Leg Gyration, Diving Pose (on my Easy Series) will all warm up your body from the inside out, as will our asana of the week, Imaginary Chair. So don’t let the cold stop you from practicing. Take a hot shower or at least warm up your room and put on a cozy sweatshirt before you get started. I guarantee you won’t need it for long!

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