Don’t let winter stiffness set in. Trust these 5 yoga asanas to keep your body going

Winter means stiff muscles and joints, all thanks to poor blood circulation. These beginner-friendly yoga asanas, however, can combat all that and more.
Yoga for stiffness
Keep fit this winter with yoga. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
Nishtha Bijlani Published: 3 Jan 2021, 14:00 pm IST
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As winter approaches, the air gets dry and chilly. The body finds it difficult to get warm and blood circulation dips. This as a result, we experience tightness in the muscles and stiffness in the joints.

With these simple yoga asanas, you can release that stiffness and find freedom in your movement. These will also help to improve the oxygen and blood flow to the entire body.

1. Cat-cow movement

Marjariasana and bitilasana, also known as the cat-cow movement, are great to give your spine a wake-up call. Doing this first thing in the morning, helps to release the tightness in the back.

Cat pose. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
Cow pose. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

This is how you can do it:

Begin by being on your knees and palms. Keep the wrists-shoulders and knee-hip in a straight line. Inhale to arch open the back and look forward. Exhale to round the back and turn the head inward. Just repeat this movement a few times in coordination with the breath to experience the release.

Also, read: These 5 easy stretching exercises will release your stress in a jiffy

2. Sukshma vyayam

These are gentle movements are done to lubricate and mobilize joints. They are especially helpful in the cold and dry weather, when the joints stiffen up. Practicing sukshma vyayam takes just 10 to 15 minutes, and they have the power to unblock the stagnant flow of energy in our joints. It sharpens the senses, refreshes the mind and redirects life back in.

Some movements that you can do:

Neck movement: Simply move the neck in all four directions: up, down, left, right and back to centre. Repeat 3-5 times.

Neck stretch. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
Neck turn. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

Wrist rotation: Make a fist and extend your hands forward at shoulder height. Make outer circles with your wrists followed by inner circles. Repeat 5-10 times.

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Move your wrist. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

Point & flex the feet: This can be done standing or seated with legs stretched out. Point your toes forward in plantar flexion and then turn your toes toward you in dorsiflexion. Keep the movement from the ankle joints. Repeat 5-10 times.

Point your feet. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
Flex your feet. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani
3. Parshvottanasna

This pose helps to deeply stretch the hamstrings and gluteus, while freeing the spine of its morning stiffness.

Parshvottanasana. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

This is how you can do it:

Start by stepping the right foot forward while keeping the left foot at a 45 degree angle. Maintain a distance of 3 feet between the legs. Interlace the fingers behind your back and fold the body forward toward the front leg. Allow your arms to stretch open while keeping the gaze to the toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the same on the left side.

Also, read: All you need is 10 minutes and these stretching exercises to ease stiff muscles

4. Adho-mukho svanasana

This is a great foundational pose which helps to work on the entire body. It greatly stretches the arms, shoulders, spine, hips and legs.

Adho Mukho Svanasana. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

This is how you can do it:

Get on your knees and place your palms forward on the mat. Push into the floor to lift your knees off. Allow your hips to point up towards the ceiling, while creating a length in the spine. Maintain legs at hip width apart and palms at shoulder width apart. Keep the neck relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds. Release and repeat once again.

5. Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana or the cobra pose is a wonderful back bend, which helps to release the stiff and tight muscles in the back, especially during the winters. It helps to open the chest cavity while improving the respiratory function.

Bhujangasana. Image courtesy: Nishtha Bijlani

This is how you can do it:

Lie on your belly in a prone position. Place the palms to the sides of your chest and slowly push into the floor to lift your body up. Do not straighten the arms fully. Keep a slight bent in the elbows. Allow the shoulders to be rested down and relaxed. Make sure to not tense the neck. Hold for 30 seconds, slowly release and repeat.

Let these yoga asanas help to maintain the suppleness in your body during this chilly weather!

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About the Author

Nishtha Bijlani is a Mumbai-based certified yoga expert. ...Read More

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