4 Yoga Practices for Mid Winter

4 Yoga Practices for Mid Winter

Winter Yoga Bliss: Nurturing Your Body and Mind Through Yoga Nidra, Restorative Poses, and Gentle Breathwork - Julia Davis

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We can harness the power of darkness in our winter yoga practice.  When the days are at their shortest practices that nurture us could be just perfect.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra means Yoga Sleep.  Thats right! You can practice this in bed.  It is one of my favourite practices because it involves doing nothing.  What is Yoga Nidra?  It is a deep relaxation practice that involves lying down in the most comfortable position possible and hearing the words of your teacher (you are even allowed to fall asleep while practicing) .

Usually in yoga nidra there is an opportunity to set an intention, the teacher will talk you through a body mapping and possibly a visualisation or a counting sequence and gently bring you back into consciousness.  This practice can be anything from 15 mins to 45 mins in length and there are now a number of bespoke yoga nidra classes out there.  Many are online and in the evening specifically created with the intention of settling the nervous system before sleep...delicious.

Restorative Yoga

In a restorative yoga class the intention is to give the opportunity through rest to restore the body and mind so you feel better.  There are specific practices that are particularly helpful in the winter months when we might experience breathing issues, recovering from coughs and colds.  Restorative yoga often uses props.  Blankets and bolsters are your friend.

Again there are specific restorative classes out there but you might wish to treat yourself to a lovely blanket and bolster so you can practice a few simple restorative yoga poses without the need to go to class.  One of my favourite positions to lie in is with a bolster under my knees, a blanket under my upper back and supporting my neck - great for giving a gentle stretch to my breathing muscles.

Gentle Breathwork

This is a breathwork practice I really love to breathe away the winter blues.  It is best practices seated comfortably with a supported or straight back.


If using a meditation stool is not comfortable it is fine to sit up against a wall or on a comfortable chair with a back support.  I then close my eyes and focus on my breathing.

I take my right finger and place it next to my right nostril - not covering it.  I then imagine I am breathing in and out through my left nostril for up to 12 breaths. I then take my finger away and breathe normally.  Then I place my right finger next to my left nostril and imagine I am breathing through my right nostril for up to 12 breaths.

Finally I remove my hand and breath as if I were breathing through both nostrils evenly for up to 12 breaths.  I check in with how I am feeling after the practice.  It often makes me feel a sense of calm and ease.

Movement Practice

Although I do love to practice on my mat, in the winter I really feel the need to catch some daylight while it is there and will prioritise that.  It is the perfect time of year to catch the sunrise and walking without listening to anything on my phone and noticing the sounds around me.

If that includes an opportunity to walk in nature, even better.   If possible walking outside whatever the weather is great to do without any technology - if I don't take my phone I am not tempted to check it.

I love to lean into winter and enjoy practices that connect to the long nights and short days. It is the perfect time to connect to the moon which is often so much easier to see this time of year.  Noticing the gentle wax and waining of the moon is a practice that can work perfectly with yoga and if vinyasa flow is what you love then the moon salutation has many variations to explore.

Julia Davis is an author, senior yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer focussed on yoga nidra, circle holding and women's health. Visit circleholding.org for more


Julia Davis

Julia Davis an author, senior yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer focussed on women's health, yoga nidra and circle holding. Visit circleholding.org