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  • 12 Yoga Tips for the Winter Blues

    November 09, 2020 3 min read

    The case of the winter blues often means symptoms of prolonged stress and fatigue and for millions of adults in America, the winter blues can be clinically severe. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that occurs in the winter, caused by the lack of sunlight.

    As someone with SAD, I all too well understand the lethargy and feelings of hopelessness that start to sink in after daylight savings. I have come to find that incorporating yoga in all aspects of my day helps to manage SAD symptoms and promotes self-awareness, acceptance, and contentment. I even use yoga tools to signal to my body what time of day it is.

    Supported yoga for depression | Mukha Yoga

    This image features Halfmoon's Cylindrical Bolster. 

    Here are my yoga tips for managing Seasonal Affective Disorder:

    1) Start the day with yoga. When I wake up confused because it's still dark outside, I find it helpful to get the blood flowing to ease into the day. Even doing a single sun salutation offers an extra boost in the morning that goes really well with my coffee.

    2) Move in lit spaces. If there is a room in the house that gets a bit of light during the day, try to do your practice in that room during that time. Or practice near a sun lamp if you have one.

    3) Make yoga a routine. Remember, getting on your mat is half the work. Come up with ways to motivate yourself to commit to your practice - especially when those darker days settle in. Sign up for a yoga membership or have a yoga buddy to do online classes with.

    Read 5 Steps to Creating a Daily Yoga Habit.

    4) Add inversions to your routine. Choose asanas that focus on bringing energy to the crown of your head with inversions. Doing this will help promote balance in your pineal gland, encourage healthy blood flow, and soothe an overactive mind.

    Change your perspective in these inverted poses.

    5) Care for your physical heart space. With depression, it may sometimes feel like there is a physical weight on your heart space. Find relief by incorporating backbends and other heart opening postures.

    6) A little goes a long way. There may be days that you don’t feel like moving at all. Honor your body on those days. Choose gentle restorative poses for a tender cozy practice that meets you where you are at. Here is a sample sequence for those slower days:

    Cat>Cow>Child>Thread the Needle
    Reclined Pigeon
    Bridge supported by a block
    Legs up the wall or supported Savasana

    While taking a few minutes to engage in a practice that consists mostly of sitting may not seem like a lot, don't underestimate the power of you showing up for yourself. Take this measure of self-care even just 15 minutes a day.

    7) Props! My joints often ache more in the winter months, so whenever I can invite a more therapeutic self-care practice, it's a win for me. My favorite props during the winter months are massage balls, lots and lots of blankets, eye pillows, and bolsters.

    8) Sleep hygiene. Spend a few moments to end the day with gentle postures to signal to your body that it's time to slow down.

    Sleep Better with 3 Poses.

    9) Utilize breathwork. Your soul is your breath, so tend to your soul through breathwork - especially when one is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. There are many different types of breathwork.

    To energize and focus, I like alternate nostril breathing or Ujjayi breath.

    Yoga for Seasonal Depression | Mukha Yoga

    This image features Hugger Mugger's Standard Bolster.

    10) Build a meditation practice into your day - even a few minutes a day can help your brain reset. I found that downloading a meditation app encourages me to regularly meditate. 

    Try using one of our favorite meditation apps: Best Meditation Apps or try our guided visualization through the snow at the end of this article.

    11) Use essential oil therapy to ground or awaken. My diffuser is one of my favorite things during the winter. A few drops of Sweet Orange and Peppermint in the morning and a few drops of Tea Tree and Lavender in the evening are my regular blends. Doing this every day helps signal to my body what time of day it is.

    12) Reach out. You don’t have to do this alone. Let your loved ones know what you're experiencing and don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are experiencing depressive symptoms that worsen within the winter months, consider seeing a doctor to address underlying causes or consider speaking with a counselor for additional support and coping skills.

    Hannah Parks l Mukha YogaBy Hannah Parks; All Rights Reserved @2020

    Hannah Parks l Mukha Yoga
    By Hannah Parks; All Rights Reserved @2020