Healthy Living YMCA Health and Fitness

5 ways yoga can help you beat the winter blues

Cold, grey winter days can get you down. Here’s how yoga can help keep you grounded:

1. Research shows that doing yoga regularly can help reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder. If you find yourself missing sunshine and struggling to boost your mood, hitting the mat can help.

2. With so many potlucks and family get-togethers, the holidays can feel more stressful than relaxing. Yoga reduces your levels of cortisol — the hormone released when you’re stressed — which means it also keeps you feeling calm, cool, and collected.

3. Hobbling around on snow and ice can tighten your muscles up and mess with your alignment. Flexibility-promoting yoga poses were designed to open you up, while core-strengthening ones help you build the centeredness you need to feel steady on slippery slush.

4. If your hands and feet are perpetually freezing during the cold months of the year, yoga can help warm them back up. Within the first few minutes of a class, your circulation will pick up, helping to spread the heat that tends to concentrate in your core out towards the tips of your fingers and toes.

5. By bringing your attention to your breathing and helping you feel present in your body, yoga can give you a much-needed time out from your busy days. Spending an hour focusing on yourself and recharging will give you the boost of energy you need to power through the rest of your To Do list.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, now’s the perfect time: you can sign up online to Try The Y for free for two weeks. That’s two weeks’ worth of free yoga classes, where you’ll learn breathing and relaxation techniques, build strength and stamina, and limber up as your instructor guides you through poses designed to be doable for yogis of all levels. Everyone can Try the Y for free, so be sure to bring the friends and family members you know could use a boost this winter.