Five Heating Yoga Poses for Chilly Days

When the winter months get you chilled, a good way to combat the cold is with some good old yoga! Now you might be thinking I am referring to hot yoga where you would be sweating your buns off, and though that might be an option that serves you, I am just talking about a few good poses to turn to in your practice that help build up heat in the body. Heating yoga poses usually require a bit of work from your muscles, causing you to start to heat up and probably break a sweat.. sorry, glisten! Keep reading for some great heating yoga poses to try out this winter!

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First, I will start with some yoga poses I picked out that are heating, then at the end of this post, I will include a quick sequence that you can use including these poses!


Utthita Parsvakonasana (Side Angle)


To start out our heating poses, I picked Utthita Parsvzkonasana because despite having your arm crossed over your corresponding knee in a popular variation, there will still be heat in the core if done correctly. Many times in side angle, I see students leaning into their arms, but really, as a teacher, I should be able to come by and slap that arm out from under you without you collapsing (I would never slap a student, but just imagine someone giving you a really intense high five).



A modification to intensify the heat is to bring both arms alongside the ears so that you truly are using your core to hold your upper body up at an angle. Pull the bottom ribs forward, top ribs back to create a slight twist, bringing the chest up toward the sky. You can also keep your bottom arm either crossed over the knee or down towards the mat, but bring your top arm into a bind behind your back.


See more about this pose here on Yoga Journal.


Utkata Konasana (Goddess)


Since I primarily teach Prenatal yoga, I usually add some form of squat to our class as a sort of "birth simulator." If it sounds to you like my moms enjoy it, you would be wrong! It is typically the least enjoyed part of our class, but they do enjoy that it gives them a chance to tap into their inner strength as the heat builds in their legs.



What I also love about Goddess pose is that it brings your awareness to the breath, since the breath is what helps you through the pose. Holding the pose for a minute gives you the heat and gets your body working together as well as giving you a chance to rely on the breath to get you through.


See more about this pose here on Gaia.


Utkatasana (Chair or Fierce)


Many people who practice yoga as well as some who are vaguely familiar have probably heard of and done Utkatasana. This pose actually translates to "fierce" pose because of the heat you will feel in your legs from this pose as you sit back and hold with the legs parallel.



The really fun thing about Utkatasana is that there are so many variations you can use to make the pose different. You can have the arms lifted alongside the ears or in prayer at heart center. You can come into a twist by hooking your opposite elbow to knee and wringing out the spine. Come to a more open twist with the arms to a "T" and opposite arm alongside your leg while the other reaches towards the sky.


See more about this pose here on Yoga Journal.


Plank


I have a love-hate relationship with plank, if I am totally honest. This is a great pose because it builds core strength, it creates balance, and helps you work on being intentional about the breath. However, this pose is tough. It will warm you right up with the challenge of balancing your entire body weight on your hands and feet if you go without modifications.


The upside to plank is that there are quite a few modifications that you can take. If you experience discomfort in your wrists, you can come down to forearms. If having your legs lifted is too much on your core (especially if you have any condition that might cause less core strength, like being a postpartum mom) you can lower down to your knees.


Photo from Canva

I will say that as much as I am not the biggest fan of plank because of how difficult it is, I do like using side plank variations in my practice. I will usually lower my bottom knee to make it less strenuous for me, especially postpartum, so that I do not dip my hips too far.


See more about this pose here on Yoga Journal.


Salabasana (Locust)


Salabasana is another pose where you will feel heat from this pose throughout your body. If you are a perpetually cold person (can't relate) this will be a fun pose to try. As you come to your belly and lift your body so that you are balancing on your pelvis, you will feel heat as the crown of your head and feet stretch in opposite directions, back muscles engage, and your core stabilizes.



This is a tough pose to do, and definitely requires a lot of work for your body, which is why it helps introduce heat to your practice. The tough part is to keep your arms and legs from coming out into a "V" shape and drawing them back to the midline of the body. You can also work up to this pose gently with a few prep poses like baby cobra, and sphinx.


See more about this pose here on Yoga Journal.

 

Looking for a way to link all of these poses together? Check out my quick sequence below to get a sweat-inducing practice!


Key:

> = Move to next pose

[...] = flow within a flow

R = Right

L = Left


Heating Sequence


Tadasana (Mountain) > Surya A > Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog/AMS)


Lunge R > Open to Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) > Utthita Parsvzkonasana (Side Angle) > Triangle (Trikonasana) > AMS {Repeat on L side, minus AMS}


Keep feet at parallel, standing wide on mat > Goddess legs, but include free movement > [Goddess > Five Pointed Star] > Goddess hold (1 minute) > Prasarita Padottanasana A


Lunge R > Bring L foot to meet R > Ardha Uttanasana (half way lift) > Uttanasana (forward fold) > Lift all the way up with arms overhead > Tadasana with hands at heart center


Utkatasana > Utkatasana twist R > Utkatasana twist L > Extended Tadasana, slight backbend > Uttanasana/Ragdoll (take a few breaths here swaying back and forth) > Ardha Uttanasana > Uttanasana and plant the hands stepping back > Plank > Side Plank R > Plank > Side Plank L > Child's


Tabletop > Lower to mat > Bhujangasana (Baby Cobra) > Lower to mat > Sphinx > Lower to mat > Salabasana > Lower to mat > Flip over like a pancake > Knees to chest and rock side to side > Simple Twist R > Simple Twist L > Knees to chest > Savasana

 

Comment below if you tried this sequence and let me know what you think!


xoxo,

TBS

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