Winter with Love Yoga


The winter season is the most yin time of the year according to Taoism and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yin is associated with quiet, darkness, coolness and introspection. Yin is still and receptive. Yang, yin's polarity, is bright, hot, active and extroverted. Yang energy is at its peak in the summertime, when all of nature is bursting forth, bubbling at the surface and blooming. Winter feels different because it is different. Winter gives us less hours of daylight, less heat, less expansion.  Winter is associated with water and with the kidneys and bladder. It's the time of year to make sure everything is flowing, to draw your energy in, to be introspective and insightful and to get plenty of rest. We put together these techniques to harmonize your energetics with this magical time of year and to make sure your waters are moving.

1.  Upright squats with twist

This technique cleans the kidneys. While practicing you want to have your imagination resting on the kidney band. Inhales fill the sponge of the kidneys with water and the twists, on the exhale, wring the kidneys out. Stand with the feet wide apart, turn the toes out and bend the knees towards 90 degrees. Hands on the knees.  Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and twist. Go back and forth a few times and build up towards 20 reps.

2.  Shaking it up

Our all time favorite technique for shaking up stagnation, sediment, lethargy and heaviness. All you have to do is jump around. There are no rules and no way to not enjoy yourself. Try smiling and making yourself laugh, 30 seconds to start and build up towards a few minutes.

3.  Stirring it up in a comfortable seat

Get your waters moving and open up your lower body. Sit in virasana, vajrasana, or sukkasana (aka kneeling or in a cross legged seat) and with your hands on your hips, your heels, or your knees, and start to make circles in the lower body. Turn your imagination into a big wooden spoon and stir up the contents of the bowl of the pelvis. Go in both directions. Start with 30 seconds in each direction and build from there!

4.  Pigeon

Pigeon is the ultimate hip stretch. It's very yin and invites introspection and quiet, perfect for reflecting and going deep. Lay your shin across and fold forward. We love setting up blocks, pillows, bolsters, whatever you have underneath the chest and head so you can let go. Start with 5 breaths on each side and build up to a few minutes.   

5. Half Seated Spinal Twist

Extend both legs forward. Bend the right leg and step the foot outside the left thigh.  Either keep the left leg extended or fold it back. Twist towards the right and hook your elbow outside the right knee and leverage the contact to revolve. This will wring you out and keep things moving. 5 breaths each side. Build toward 15 breaths.

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