Yoga for Beginners 101: Take Five to Seven with Winter Warm-Up Tips
A monthly overview
Since it's been a month when I last posted here on how I'm doing with basic yoga, I apologize for posting this hub so late, due to the holiday season. As we approach the winter season with X-mas and New Year's Eve upon us, I would probably be focusing on home practice for awhile, depending on the weather and the inclement temperatures. Two weeks ago, when the temperatures here in Ohio dipped into the mid-teens with a freezing wind chill and snow to add to the mix, I've passed on going to my Thursday and Friday yoga class on those nights.
Since my last hub post, I've finished About.com's Quickstart Guide for Yoga Beginners last week with doing exercises for Surya Namaskara B, for the abs and for the arms. Since then, I've been doing my own routine and have added those daily yoga poses to my routine, if they're new to me, or if I needed to work on them as well. Lately, I've tended to do yoga at night than in the mornings or afternoons. For my Wednesday class, I've gotten better with the tree every time I try at home. The new poses we've done in the past month was Warrior III (or the airplane), and the Extended Big Toe Angle. Last week, since it was Thanksgiving Eve, we ended class short to do some meditation for fifteen minutes of relaxation. The class size, probably due to the weather and new scheduled, have went down to half to where I first started. For every new class, there's always, at least, two new yogis in beginning yoga.
As for Thursdays class, while there's been nothing new to that one, except for some most difficult poses. Ever try to do the dragonfly ones? There's three different ones, while I prefer the butterfly and half butterfly poses. Most of the yoga poses I've done in that class I've learned at home and in my Friday class. I'm still getting better in that class all the time, while I do have a sore neck in the end. As of my Friday class, we always try something new. Two weeks ago, we had substitute yoga instructor who taught us a fun routine to music, something like advanced when the yoga sequential poses were fluid in motion by repeating them a few times, like the warriors and a couple of down dogs. This past Friday, we've added the Van Gogh's star and jumped a couple of times between the triangles and the side angles.
Winter yoga class poll
How will you warm up this winter with yoga?
To stay warm during the winter season, you should consider to take up jogging outside or at a gym's indoor track
Yoga is a great way to relax and warm up during winter, especially with the legs up the wall pose at the end of the routine to cool down at home or at the gym
Twenty-eight Winter Warm Up Tips
Since the winter season is upon us, about two weeks away, for those who can't make it to yoga class like me on not walking in freezing cold and snowy weather, here's 28 winter warm up tips from two websites--Yogawiz.com/yoga-tips-for-winter-care.html and artofliving.org.us-en/yoga/health-and-wellness/yogatipsforwinter.com--and combined them into one hub. Feel free to copy them for future reference this winter.
- To restore energy, eat well-cooked, sparsely spiced foods. Drink plenty of warm drinks, and eat plenty of roasted root vegetables, moderately spicy soups and simmered stews.
- Go easy on foods like raw salads and veggies as well as cold drinks. Add ginger, garlic, cloves, basil and black pepper to your diet, which help augment the warming affect of your food.
- To remain healthy, wealthy and wise, remember the old adage of going to bed early and to rise early. Don't let laziness and languor take over.
- Learn the practice of dynamic yoga. In other words, don't hold the poses for a long time, when you should practice dynamic yoga.
- During the winter season, don't avoid your daily yoga time. Start with the Sun Salutations and do plenty of them. This would keep you warm, increase energy, keep your body stretched and nimble, and flexible, too.Then follow it up with proper warm-up exercises. Include subtle yoga exercises in your practice. It'll prevent stiffness in joints, prevent regular aches and keep you warm. Start remember to add the proper warm-up exercises. You'll end up with a calm mind, have plenty of energy, and maintain your health. Honor your body by being in tune with nature. If you add it, Sukshma Vyayam can help prevent rigidity in joints.
- Yoga is all about living it up the right way and lightening up. This doesn't meant to venture outdoors, like trekking to work. This winter, think about jogging. When you jog, it help you boost your energy reserves keep you warm a lot, and exercise your lung muscles.
- Don't indulge too much and burn it out. Don't let it become your winter excuse to add more weight. Eat whatever you like, whether it's sweet or savory, but make sure you sweat it out with some active yoga postures and stretches that help reduce weight, while toning your internal organs as well. You can also do some limbering up exercises. Some can help for the limbs, you can do all standing and stretching poses like the Mountain Pose, Triangle Pose and Reversed Triangle Pose, sitting poses like the Seated Forward Bend, and inverted postures such as Shoulder Stand and Legs Up the Wall Pose, prone poses like the Cobra Pose, Locust Pose, the Bow Pose, and the Wheel Pose. Those poses would help a lot.
- Regular yoga practice can keep the bug, the cold and cough season, and the viral fever and the like at bay. It would help strengthen your body's immunity, which would help keep the bacteria at bay. If you do practice a lot of breathing exercises during the winter season with the Right Nostril Breathing, To do this, keep your head, neck and spine erect in any comfy meditative posture. Keep your eyes closed and shut left nostril with your last two fingers. Through your right nostril, inhale and breathe deeply, then shut both nostrils and hold your breath for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly through left nostril with thumb on right nostril. This would constitute as one round, and do at least 5 rounds a day. This would help clear chest congestion and boost immunity. To heat up the body, you can practice with the Skull Shining Breathing Technique. To fight common winter allergies, try JalNeti, an ancient yogic technique to cleanse your nostrils with water. Sit in a meditative posture like the Easy Sit Pose, the Lotus Pose, and the Warrior Pose, with your hands on your knees. Do plenty of Chest Breathing with taking slow, deep breaths, while you let your chest expand and contract as much as possible ... and try to retain the breaths as long as possible. Do it 10-15 times.
- You can stretch your spine with some Yogic exercises. With both feet apart, stand and stretch both hands above head, inhale, and then start to bend backwards from your waist. Exhale and bend forward. Do this 10-15 times. If you suffer from low back problems, use caution and avoid bending forwards.
- To help tone up the internal organs, practice some upbeat sweat-generating Yogic exercises that focuses on weight loss and stretching. It would lower stress, increase life span, develop calmness, have more balance in their lives and harmony strength.
- Winter's the perfect time for starting meditation. Make some time to meditate this season by closing your eyes for a few seconds after your daily yoga practice. With a pure and light, predominantly vegetarian diet, warm up exercises, breathing techniques, if you do some yogic meditation, it would help you immensely to give you lots of much-needed spiritual energy to last you the rest of the year. It's an ideal start for your day to prepare you to face your day with strength and a smile.
- Self-study is a part of yoga. For this winter, introspect by taking time to reflect. Retrace your past steps. Start with yesterday and the day before. Then you'll begin to regress further and further.
- Have the right attitude. In Yogic jargon, it's prescribed as duty, knowledge, detachment, and self-reliance. Single out one of them that you'll think that you best help you become a better person, and to become more in sync with yourself and the rest of the world.
- If you create a wish list and go over the things that most matter to you, this is called Strong Positive Intent in Yogic parlance. What are things you wanted to do, and never got to do them? This winter, this is the good time to start with introspection, reflection, the right attitudes, and meditation.
- Take each and every opportunity to honor your time schedules, if you make the most of your time. See where you failed, and how to start making amends to yourself.
- During the dark and cold days, try to start a new hobby. Pick one that you've always wanted to do and that will make you happy. It's now or never to do one now,
- How about trying a new alternative therapy, like yoga, Reiki, Vipassana Vaastu Shastra (Insight Meditation), Feng Sui, or Mahikari (the art of true light healing). We can all do with one. This is also a good time to start with herbal treatments or home remedies than relying to go to the drugstore. It's not a problem, if you're on regular medication. So try alternative therapies and meditation will help you in the long run to get you off of prescription drugs.
- Addicted to tea, coffee or any other beverages? Take it in moderation. They can do more harm than good. The same goes for alcohol and cigarettes. Get a grip and start reducing this winter.
- See if you can junk anything from your wardrobe and cupboards. Give away the old to make room for the new.
- If you rummage through the cubbyholes from your mind, and see what you can jettison from there with this yogic exercise. Drop all negative exercises and make place for positive thoughts.
- How about practicing deliberate positive thinking or dwelling on the opposite of negativity? Pick one thought of the day, dwell on it, and insist it's your constant companion. It could be anything to keep your mind away from negative thoughts.
- You can take it easy, as far as possible, by practicing letting go. Spend less time worrying, less time in bed, and more on your mat with the Corpse Pose.
- If you blow lots of balloons, it can help you relief your breathing troubles. It also helps increase your lung capacity.
- Dream consciously and deliberately. What you like to be, where you like to be, with whom and for how long. This is sending out a memo to the universe of what you want and how much. Don't worry about the hows, when the Universe can take care of that.
- If you call friends, relatives, not so close friends or relatives, and some folks you don't think highly off, this would surprise them, if you can't visit. (Face Time and Skype would also count in my boat, too.)
- If you mentally and physically unwind, this is also part of Yogic relaxation and more than letting go. If you make a deliberate effort to calm down, give yourself some positive assertions throughout the day. This is taking a step further than positive thinking. If you take a walk, tell your body, heart and mind to relax.
- Pamper yourself. Do something you've never done before. Give yourself a good rub, look in the mirror, and tell yourself how much you love that person. Try it yourself and see how it feels.
- Do something for someone or something. Enriching yourself by doing something for others. Volunteer for the Red Cross or Greenpeace for example.
Nine Healthy Diet and Lifestyle tips for winter
Finally, here's some healthy diet and lifestyle tips for this winter, courtesy from one of the same websites I've mentioned before: http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga/health-and-wellness/yoga-tips-for-winter.
- Take good care of your body this winter, when it's cold and cough season. Ginger tea works best. Lessen the intake of grains.
- To help release muscle contraction, give your body a frequent body massage with oil that suits your skin.
- To aid breathing and help release any throat or chest congestion, treat yourself with aroma therapy and light some eucalyptus oil in the room.
- Avoid napping and sleeping for long hours in winter. Ensure an adequate sleep of 6-8 hours at night. For every day or each alternate day, as you prepare to go to bed, gargle with warm water, and add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt.
- Get your daily dose of sunlight by engaging in some outdoor activity like walking, gardening, or early morning/late evening sun gazing.
- Prepare your foods this winter that contain butter, milk, sugarcane juice, and ghee, which are recommended for this season. Include warm soups, stewed veggies, cooked rice and oatmeal to your diet. They provided soothing warmth to your system.
- Add nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios (taken sparingly) to your diet supplement in the winter. Also ideal foods are figs, dates, spinach, and green leafy vegetables.
- To help fight the cold in the body, try herbal supplements like Chyawanprash, which is a jam-like cooked mixture of sugar, honey, ghee, Triphala, sesame oil, berries, and other herbs and species, and Dasamoola Rasaya, a herbal jam.
- For morning congestion, try this home remedy with any of the following; 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of ginger juice, 1 tbsp of honey, and mix it well with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Boil 20 basil leaves, 5 grams of ginger, and 7 peppercorns in 2 glasses of water. Bring it down to one glass. Add sweetner, if needed.
On a final note, I haven't heard anything yet from the gym on the Gentle Yoga class. I hope to meet with the land class director after the holidays to get the answers then. Meanwhile, I'm still taking it and progressing well.
This winter, if you can't make it practice, you can always read online articles, yoga-related books and magazines, watch videos or on Demand, to continue with our home practice. Stay warm!