Winter Stretch

One of the main theories as to why cold weather would cause stiffness in the joints has to do with barometric pressure – the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us. Before cold weather sets in, barometric pressure often drops, pushing less against the body and allowing tissues to expand. When our tissues expand, they put extra pressure on the joints, thus causing stiffness and pain. 

Try out these to relax and relieve the body during winter 

 - Seated side stretch 

This easy stretch helps to open up the hips, back, shoulders, and triceps.

  1. Begin in a seated position on the ground with your legs crossed.
  2. Sit up tall and inhale to reach both arms above your head.
  3. Exhale and place your left hand on the ground. Bend slightly into the left arm and reach your right arm up and over your head. Keep both of your sitting bones on the floor and you should feel a stretch through your right side. Hold for 30 seconds and then rise back up to centre. Switch sides.

- Cat/ Cows

These two classic yoga poses help to warm the spine and activate the core.

  1. Start kneeling down on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Line up your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Engage your abs.
  2. Cow pose: Inhale to arch your back, lowering your belly towards the ground and pointing your tailbone up. Squeeze your shoulders down your back and keep your neck long.
  3. Cat pose: Exhale to round your spine, tucking your pelvis under and drawing your chin into your chest. Continue alternating between your cow and cat pose for eight full rounds of breath.

- Thread the needle

This stretch helps to release tension in the upper back and shoulders.

  1. Begin on the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Lift your right hand up off the mat and thread your right arm underneath your left arm, bringing your right shoulder and cheek to the mat.
  3. Walk your left fingers towards the top of the mat and feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Stay for 30 seconds and then slowly come back up to your tabletop position. Switch sides.

- Downward facing dog 

This yoga pose is great for warming the body. It stretches the hamstrings, calves, back, and shoulders while also strengthening the arms, shoulders, and back.

  1. Start kneeling down in your tabletop position. Walk your hands forward a couple of inches and tuck your toes under.
  2. Press into your palms and lift your hips towards the ceiling to make a V-shape with your body. If your lower back is tight, keep a bend in your knees.
  3. Press your chest back towards your thighs and engage your abs to lift up through your tailbone. Feel a stretch through the back of your body. Hold for 30 seconds.

- Gentle Spine Twists 

This relaxing stretch relieves stiffness in the spine.

  1. Start by lying down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet down.
  2. Cactus your arms so that your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then, keep your knees bent and pick your feet up off the ground. Parallel your shins to your mat and draw your navel up and in towards your spine to engage your core.
  3. On an exhale, lower your knees towards the right. Make sure to keep your left shoulder down and use your right hand to deepen the twist. Close your eyes and hold for 30 seconds. Then inhale to lift your knees back to center and exhale to switch sides.