The days are getting shorter and we are finding it that little bit more difficult to get up in the morning so we asked our friend, yoga teacher and Editor of Get The Gloss, Victoria Woodhall to share her winter yoga essentials to ensure you get on the mat over the winter months and why it’s so important to keep up with your practice.
When it’s dark outside at 6am in the Winter months, I find it harder than ever to motivate myself to salute the sun. Sun? What Sun?
But I know that if I don’t do my practice in the morning my life, work, children will find a way of using every spare minute of my day. I also know that I will have a much better day if I have spent even just 20 minutes on the mat. So, I set my alarm for 6am, make a hot water and lemon to warm me up, quickly make breakfast for my daughter to grab when she leaves the house and try to be on the mat by 6.30am.
Here are the five things that help me get there on winter days when the duvet beckons.”
Commit the night before.
Getting up in the morning is all about the ‘night before prep’, which is a way of committing to your practice, and setting an intention to yourself.
I try to have my lights out by 11pm, which means getting everything organised for the following day, packing my bag, making lunches for myself and the kids and crucially writing down my to-do list or anything that’s bugging me (I have a special notebook) so it’s not whirring around my head at night or during my morning practice.
Get your kit out
I lay my kit out the night before, so I’m not stumbling around in the dark for my sports bra or making decisions about what to wear. Wearing ethical activewear that’s really comfortable and that feels good helps no end. It’s all about those small margins that make a difference to wanting to practice. I’ve been wearing Asquith’s bamboo yoga clothes for many years and this season I have been living in the Flow With It bamboo yoga leggings and Go To bamboo yoga vest top both of which allow my skin to breathe but also regulate my temperature, perfect for those cooler mornings. The Cloud Nine hoodie feels almost like a blanket, ideal for meditation.
Set your space
My yoga space has to feel enticing and calming and appeal to all the senses, so my mind is less likely to get caught up in my to-do list. I always start with some meditation on my bolster with one of my favourite scented candles burning in the background (at the moment I am loving Darjeeling by T London).
Wake yourself up
I might end my meditation with a couple of rounds of kapalabhati (shining skull) breath, which is a bit like an espresso and warming too. If I really need an extra wakeup boost or if I feel my motivation might flag, a quick handstand against the wall does the job. It’s always a battle for me to keep my thoughts at bay before work so I find it easier to do a led practice than a self-practice. I use Movement for Modern Life or classes that my teacher Amme Poulton puts up on Soundcloud. I have to remember to switch off my notifications, though if I’m using a device.
Don’t beat yourself up
Sometimes I only manage 15 minutes’ practice but that’s fine. It’s all about creating a habit ‘a samskara ‘ that helps you stick with it. And a new bit of kit always helps!
By Victoria Woodhall, Editor of Get The Gloss and author of Everyone Try Yoga.
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Follow Victoria on Twitter @vwyoga and Instagram @vctoriawoodhall