The Best Yoga Poses for Winter | Helen Krag



How do you feel when wintertime comes around? In the Northern hemisphere when the days are shorter, the air may be crisp and cool or there can be a damp, heaviness to the atmosphere. Mother Nature slows down. Deciduous trees are devoid of their leafy shrouds and some animals settle into hibernation. Perhaps you too become compelled to slow down, to rest, to take time for reflection and introspection. It can be a valuable time for deep listening.

For some, the dark, dankness of this time of year is oppressive. We may feel lethargic and stagnant, lacking in inspiration or energy. Yoga can help us to tune in with ourselves and resolve to give our mind and body what they need.

“In the midst of winter, I at last discovered that there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

Albert Camus

Whilst it may be tempting to head into a state of hibernation, don’t miss out on opportunities to get the heart pumping and introduce warmth and energy into the body. In this article we explore yoga poses for winter that will:

  • Help us feel more grounded
  • Invigorate the body
  • Stoke our inner fire and generate heat
  • Stimulate digestion.


Get Grounded:

1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Using both hands and feet as foundation points, Downward Dog is solid and grounding. Whilst considered a resting pose in vinyasa yoga, it engages the whole body and can also rejuvenate – perfect for a chilly winter’s day! Learn the correct alignment and variations in this Downward Facing Dog Pose Tutorial with Dylan Ayaloo.

2. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)

This yoga pose for winter will help you to be both grounded and empowered! Pick up some valuable alignment tips from Kate Walker in our Warrior II Pose Tutorial.


3. Sirsasana (Headstand)

Headstand has been called the ‘king of all asanas’, in part because it increases blood flow through the brain cells. Energetically it heats the body, which makes it a great yoga pose for winter. Perfect your technique with this Headstand Tutorial from Vidya Heisel.

4. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Back arches reverse the hunched postures that we may inadvertently adopt on dark, cold days. They open up the shoulders and chest, lengthen the spine and increase flexibility. Ustrasana is one such exhilarating pose that opens the heart centre and heightens perception. Try this Camel Pose Tutorial with Andrew McGonigle.

Generate Heat:

5. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Using our muscles generates bodily heat. Amongst the largest muscle groups are the gluteus muscles (in the bottom) and the quadriceps (in the thighs). Since Utkatasana works both of these groups, it is an effective yoga pose for winter when we want to warm up.

Fine tune your alignment with this Chair Pose Tutorial from Andrew McGonigle.

6. Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limb Staff Pose)

Chaturanga often features as a transition posture in vinyasa classes and sun salutations. As a pose in its own right it requires strength and builds significant heat when held for a period of time!

Glean some valuable Chaturanga Tips from Kirsty Nazare.

Stimulate Digestion:

7. Paschimottanasana (Intense Stretch of the West Pose)

It’s not unusual to experience more sluggish digestion in the winter months. This seated forward fold can help tone the abdominal organs and stimulate digestion.

Learn how in this Paschimottanasana Tutorial with Andrew McGonigle.

8. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

This spinal twist squeezes the lower part of the abdomen, stimulating both the small and large intestine.

Ease your way in with this Seated Twist Tutorial from Andrew McGonigle.

For more postures that help facilitate optimal digestion, check out our complete guide on yoga for gut health.


Get Cosy

This Winter Wellbeing Flow with Jean Hall starts gently and builds into a warming vinyasa class. Perfect to start a winter’s day!

When you’re in need of some inner fire, try this Vinyasa Energy Boost with Lucy McCarthy. It kicks off with a Kapalabhati breath exercise to build heat and stoke the digestion.

Stoking the Fire with Joo Teoh is great for mornings, especially if you are feeling lethargic or have cold feet and hands.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Saluations) is a wonderful collection of yoga poses for winter to energise the body and warm up during the darker months. This Sun Salutation Flow with Clive Fogelman is based on classic Surya Namaskar.

Yoga for Winter with Rakhee Jasani features a more gentle flow, supporting the body to move into stillness.

Winter Immune Booster Series

Our Winter Immune Booster series of classes with Mimi Kuo-Deemer focuses on yoga, qigong and breathing to boost the immune system at this time of year.

Winter Immune Boost 1 – A gentle class, ideal if you are coming down with a cold or feeling a little run down.

Winter Immune Boost 2 – Picks up the pace from the first class and improves circulation.

Winter Immune Boost 3 – Focuses on internal cleansing and includes some twists.

Winter Warmers: Yoga and Qigong for The ‘Inner Fire’

Also with Mimi, here are some Winter Warmers: Yoga and Qigong for The ‘Inner Fire.’

Part 1: Kindling the Fire Improves the circulation and warms the body in the cooler months.

Spirit Warming 2 is a pick-me-up featuring sun salutations, qigong, dancing warrior and back bends to cultivate energy on chilly days.


Whilst winter may be a time to hunker down and take life at a slower pace, there is value in staying grounded whilst finding ways to invigorate the body and keep warm.

We close with some beautiful suggestions from Esmerelda in this blog: Winter Solstice Rituals: Honouring our Deeper Rhythms

Author: Helen Krag. Helen is a health and wellness enthusiast; observer of human behavioural change; yoga teacher trainee; passionate traveller; and lover of the outdoors.


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