When class is cancelled at your local studio, the plows are the only ones braving the roads, and you’re stuck indoors… the feeling can be exhilarating… at first. But after hours spent circling around your own space, cabin fever sets in. I know the feeling all too well… as someone who works from home on the computer all day, a snow day in the Northeast is both a blessing… and a curse. As the whole world stops outside my office window, and the snow continues to pile, the accumulated effects of sitting, lack of sunlight and fresh air begin to take their toll.
The perfect solution? Snow-ga!
Bundle up, brave the cold, and find a snowy corner where you can move through this energizing sequence of warrior postures and lengthy pauses. Take your time to really experience the wholeness of each moment: the falling snow, the crisp air on your nostrils… even your fingers and toes as the cold sets in. When you return to the safety of your home, you’ll feel rebalanced by your awareness of and connection to the natural world around you.
Snow-ga: A Winter Yoga Practice
Welcome ~ Standing Snow Angel
Stand tall with your legs wide and your arms outstretched. Turn your palms and your gaze toward the sky and see the expanse above you. If it’s snowing, witness the moment. Absorb it all – the beauty if the sky and the power of nature. Expand your breath, and feel the crisp air in your lungs.
Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
Turn your left toes out, bend your knee and sink your hips. Turn your palms toward the snow and stretch your fingers sharply away from center. Notice the sound of the snow beneath your boots. What do you see past your fingers? Breathe deeply, resting in the strength of your legs.
Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)
Drop your left elbow onto your thigh, stretch your right arm overhead and feel the length in your side body. Gaze under your arm and up into the clouds. Smooth out your breath.
Reverse Warrior and Side Angle “Circles”
On an exhale, pinwheel your arms into the opposite direction, leaving your left knee bent as you lean back into reverse warrior. Inhale into your left waistline, then exhale back to extended side angle, slicing your arms through the brisk air. Flow back and forth from one posture to the other, at your own speed, moving in sync with your deepest breath. For a stronger core workout, free-float your hands in front of your legs as you flow. Circle through each posture 5-6 times, finishing with a final breath in Warrior 2.
Return to center, then repeat the entire sequence (Steps 1-4) on the right side.
Goddess (Utkata Konasana)
Come back to a neutral stance, turn your toes and knees out evenly, then lower your hips into a comfortable squat. Bend your elbows and open your arms into a cactus shape, spreading your fingers wide. Stay for another 5-6 deep breaths, imagining that you are breathing through your hands and feet, cleansing your whole body with the clean air.
For your final breath, turn your palms and gaze back toward the sky and sink your hips lower. As you exhale, straighten your legs and press your palms together in front of your heart.
Wide-legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottonasana)
Parallel your feet, bring your hands to your hips, and take a very deep breath as you open your chest. With your exhale, slowly hinge forward at the hips, either holding onto your legs or letting your hands graze the snow. Notice its texture and temperature as you relax your neck and breathe.
Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
Place your hands back onto your hips and come back to standing on an inhale. Finally, step your feet back together and stretch your hands up. Feel your boots sink deeper into the snow as you stretch your fingertips towards the sky. Reach strongly for 3-5 breaths.
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
Step your right leg back and draw your hands together in front of your heart. Keep your left knee bent above your ankle, and turn your back toes slightly out to the right. Allow the right side of your hip to gently reach forward as the left side draws back. With each deep breath, feel your spine getting taller; Let your breath warm your fingertips.
Warrior 3 Variation (Virabhadrasana 3)
Transition to Warrior 3. Shift your body weight forward into your standing leg, coming to hover in mid-air. Lift your back heel as high as you can as you aim your toes as the show. Hug your arms to your sides for warmth and gaze at the white snow beneath you. Breathe and play with this balance, keeping a softness in your standing leg. After 3-6 long breaths, return to even standing. Enjoy a breath or two in stillness.
Repeat the Warrior 1 and Warrior 3 asanas (postures) on the opposite side.
Standing evenly with your hands in prayer, gaze up again at the sky and picture yourself a snowflake amongst all the snowflakes—beautiful and unique in your own way, yet One with All that is. If it feels right, send gratitude out to the Universe for the peacefulness of the moment. Be sure to send some gratitude to yourself for your practice, and let that gratitude flow over to anyone or anything else that comes to mind.