7 Yoga Poses to Beat the Winter Blues

Yoga Poses to Beat the Winter Blues
Share on Social Media

Whether you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) or just live in a climate where winter means dark and dreary days, a little yoga can help boost your mood and your energy levels during winter. We decided to gather some of our favorite poses that are great for beating the winter blues and bringing a little warmth to a dreary day. These are poses to help stretch your stiff body as well as energizing and endorphin-releasing poses to improve your mood. So if the cold weather is getting you down, grab your yoga mat and give these poses a short.

Note: If you suffer from depression, SAD, or suspect you do, please see a doctor for diagnosis or treatment. Yoga is a great supplement to traditional treatments for many mental health issues. This article is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Yoga Poses to Fight the Winter Blues

1. Sun Salutation Flow

This is technically a sequence of poses, but Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) are so beneficial during winter that I have to include this flow first. Sun salutations are usually the basis of many yoga classes and it’s because your whole body benefits from this flow of 12 poses. We spend a lot of time during winter indoors, sitting and not moving our bodies. This sequence is not only a great cardiovascular workout to get your heart pumping and warm up your body it also moves your spine through almost all possible ranges of motion. When you link your breath to the movements in this sequence it can help increase mindfulness and reduce anxiety and other mental stresses.

A few rounds of sun salutation could be your workout for the day or you could use it as a warm-up before moving into other poses on this list.

2. Cat and Cow Pose

Cat Cow Yoga Pose to Beat Winter Blues

I find Cat and Cow pose to be such a delicious flow that I like to include it in all my practices, but it’s also helpful for wintertime poses. Cold weather often brings tightness and stiffness to your body, especially if you’re not moving around as much as you normally would in warmer weather.

The cat (Marjaryasana) and cow (Bitilasana) sequence not only stretches your spine and relieves pain from sitting around the house but also helps with stiffness in the shoulders too.

Come onto hands and knees on your mat. Follow your breath in and out of each stretch. Inhale and round your back as tall as it will go (imagine a startled cat), dropping your head toward the floor. Exhale and arch your back, pulling your shoulders back and raising your head to look forward. Repeat for several breaths and then rest with a neutral spine.

3. Downward Dog

Downward Dog Yoga Poses to Beat Winter Blues
Down dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is a gentle inversion that can literally and figuratively “shift your perspective” and help you bust out of negative feelings. It’s also a great stretch for your back after spending hours cuddled up on the couch streaming TV.

Start on hands and knees on your mat. Lift your hips and straighten your legs, reaching toward the back of the room. Press your hands into the mat and make sure your spine is straight. Keep your knees bent if you’re less flexible, but reach your heels toward the ground.

4. Supine Spinal Twist

Supine Spinal Twist Yoga Poses to Beat Winter Blues
My body always feels so stiff during winter and a nice twist is a great way to get some gentle movement into the spine. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) is a nice gentle twist that I like to add on to the end of my practices. It’s usually done later in the practice because your body will benefit from already warmed muscles. This pose counteracts the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time by stretching your chest, glutes, and obliques while improving spinal mobility.

To do the pose, lie down on your back on your yoga mat. Bend your knees, placing the soles of your feet on your yoga mat. Shift your hips an inch to the left. Exhale and draw your left knee into your chest while extending your right leg on the floor, keeping your right foot flexed.

Inhale, then on the exhale cross your left knee over your body to the floor on your right side. Your hips should be stacked on top of each other. Open your left arm to the left and turn your head to the left gazing out over your fingertips. Hold the pose for five or more breaths. To come out, inhale and slowly come back onto your back. Pull your left knee into your chest. Release both legs to the floor and relax with a neutral spine for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.

5. Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose Yoga to Beat the Winter Blues
Endorphins are a great “treatment” for depression and other down feelings that are common during the dark and cold days of winter. Bridge pose (Setubandha) can give your body a boost of endorphins while offering a heart opening with a gentle backbend.

Begin the pose lying on your back. Bend your knees, placing your feet on the mat with the heels as close to your bum as possible. Rest your arms at your sides. Exhale and press your feet and arms into the floor, raising your tailbone toward the ceiling. Keep your butt firm as it comes off the floor. Clasp your hands under your pelvis and extend them toward your feet. Once your butt and thighs are parallel to the floor, hold the position for up to a minute. Breathe.

To come out, unclasp the hands press them into the mat at your sides. Exhale and slowly lower the spine down one vertebra at a time.

If bridge pose is too intense for you, you can use a yoga block, wheel or back bridge for a supported version of this pose.

6. Supported Fish Pose

Supported Fish (Matsyasana) is one of my favorite restorative yoga poses. You get all of the benefits of regular fish pose in a relaxed, extended stretch. To achieve the supported version of the pose, you will need some props. A yoga bolster, two yoga blocks, or a rolled-up blanket or pillow all work for this.

One of the biggest benefits of support fish pose is counteracting the hunched posture we often sit in most of the day while driving, using the computer, or scrolling through our phone.

To get into the pose, set your props up on your yoga mat. If you’re using a pillow or yoga bolster, lay it down and position yourself so you’re sitting with your sacrum against the bolster, legs out in front of you. If you’re using two blocks, you will set up one for your back to rest on (recommended at lowest height) and another for your head (you can adjust the height for what is most comfortable. Slowly lower your back down onto your props, making adjustments as you need to feel comfortable. Finally, you’ll release your head onto your block/bolster. Let your body get heavy and relax as you breathe. Hold the pose for an extended period of time.

When you’re ready to come out of the pose, slowly bring your awareness back to the room. Wiggle your fingers and toes, then slowly push yourself back up to a seated position.

7. Standing Forward Fold

Standing Forward Fold Yoga to Beat the Winter Blues
Standing forward fold (Uttanasana) is a gentle inversion that helps reverse blood flow (allowing more to flow toward your brain) while also relieving stiffness in the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. It can also be a mood booster for when the winter blues are getting to you.

Starting in mountain pose, hinge at the hips to fold forward. Rest your hands on the floor and let your upper body hang. Keep a slight bend in the knees and with every out-breath let yourself fold deeper. Go deeper into the pose by adding a ragdoll bind (fold the arms, holding the inside of opposite elbows) and holding it for five or more breaths.

Looking for more poses to enhance your practice? Check out yoga poses for love and sexual energy and yoga poses for better posture.

Practice at home with must have yoga gear and yoga props to enhance your practice.

Save on Pinterest

Yoga Poses to Beat the Winter Blues

Share on Social Media