What do I teach in Winter?

Whether you love the cold or hate it, as a yoga teacher you will be looking to write classes that will help your clients cope with the ups and downs that everyone experiences in the darker, colder months of the year.

In Winter it may seem like nature is at rest, but really all the work is happening at a deeper level – beyond what we can see.  Autumn is all very obvious, with trees dropping their leaves in a spectacular display, but they don’t lay idle until Spring.  In the Winter nature is preparing, trees and other plants are working hard behind the scenes, extending and strengthening their root systems preparing for the new growth of Spring.  So just because we can’t see it, there is really a lot going on in the deeper, hidden part of nature in this season.

As yoga teachers we know that the darkness and lower temperatures find people wanting to get straight home after work, keeping warm and conserving their energy.  But there are lots of reasons why, with the right class, you can make a real difference in people’s lives this Winter.

No matter what style you teach, Winter yoga should be helping your clients consolidate and build up their stabilising energy.  In Remedial Yoga we do this by teaching classes that enhance the downward energy of the Water Element.  In winter, we need to work with asanas, movements, and postures to help people feel strong, boost up willpower, and gather strength for the year ahead.

During this time of deep change and healing, Winter therapeutic yoga should be seen as an opportunity to deal with all matters concerning your client’s structure and stability.  Start by getting people to really feel the postures and movements and put on some extra classes between 4pm and 7pm to get the most out of Water Element classes.

Winter yoga should be taught is a bit slower with a focus on strengthening the function of the spine and improving the posture.

Include yoga that will help balance the main support & control systems in the body –

  • the skeletal system, because your bones are responsible for blood production, Water Element yoga asanas will also help improve your client’s blood quality for greater immunity to those dreadful colds and flu so often working against us all in Winter.
  • the endocrine system, responsible for the hormones that help balance our body and body systems (also known as homeostasis).

So, our best GO-TO moves this Winter are simple

Winter Yoga Supported Shoulder Stand

This simple shoulder stand is a great Winter move, with lots going on that we don’t see from the outside.  The benefits of including the supported shoulder stand in your Winter classes is that it is generally easier for people to do than other inversions.  But the hidden benefits include stimulating the thyroid gland, helping to relieve stress and depression, improving digestion by stimulating all the internal organs.  This move is also great for opening the shoulders and neck area whilst strengthening core muscles that help keep your spine healthy and you upright.

Two-Stage Breath Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose is well known for its ability to increase the flexibility of the spine, but as it is a posture that works with the Bladder energy meridian of the body, it is also therapeutically good for clients with emotional nervous systems issues.  It is also one of the best postures for helping you sleep better at night and toning the back for a pain-free Winter.

Try a two-stage cobra for a deeper therapeutic effect.  Start by inhaling and lifting just your head (looking forwards) and holding it there whilst you breathe out.  Then on the next inhale, lift the torso as high as you can without using your arms to a position that allows you to feel and build your back (so not a full cobra – we always say that a snake has now arms, see how high you can get without the use or yours) .  Complete the move by exhaling and returning to the original position.  Now start again and repeat two more times and feel relaxed and energised this Winter.

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