A yogi’s guide to survive the Swedish winter

Cozy winter in Göteborg, Sweden

Hello my dear reader,

Hope you are copping well with the cold this winter in case you live in the colder part of the world 🙂

I woke up this morning to a stiff and painful left side of the neck and a stuck upper trapezius. I did my practice anyway while doing a few modifications. I avoided chakrasana and instead just rolling up for Vinyasa. First Sun salutations felt so stiff and slighlty painful in Dwe and Trini positions. But after a few of them the body started to open up and lengthen more in the area where I was feeling stuck and stiff. Hamstrings were also quite stiff as well especially on the left side. I hated the Uttiha Hasta Padangstasana this morning haha

All the forward bending and twisting felt incredibly good this morning, helping me to heal that stuck part of the neck and trapezius. I could literally feel how breathing and moving with care was healing my body.

As always I felt much better after practice than before stepping on my mat. Yoga is a therapy. You can practice anytime in whichever conditions if there is willingness.

The cold is having a huge influence on our body. As yoga practitioners working with our awareness and bringing our body in pretzel like positions on a daily basis, we might feel this  even more.  The cold is making us more stiff. When you are freezing, the first thing you do is to round the back, close the chest, tense the shoulders. The hips are more stiff and the hamstrings (oh boy, don’t know about you, but mine have been really stiff these last couple of days).

So I have a few secret (well, not so secret) tips to share with you. I’ve noticed they help me to cope better with the cold and they support my yoga practice as well and my overall well-being this time of the year.

  1. Hydrate yourself properly during the day. Even though you might not feel so thirsty when it’s cold, you need to hydrate yourself. I prefer herbal teas (lots of those, different herbs depending on how I feel). Make sure you choose real tea and not those plain chemicals and artificial coloring with some wanna be herbs taste.
  2. Coconut oil, shea butter or other natural oils/butters after a hot shower/ or as a self-massage. Self-massage is great. I prefer after shower during the winter (Ayurveda recommends before shower).  And I like to insist on the joints, lower back and hamstrings. You can check online on ayurvedic self-massage tips.
  3. Essential oils for the mood. Check out the net for tips on how to use them.
  4. Make your bathroom a spa. Bring some candles, nice music, lavender oil and take a long bath. You gonna sleep like the baby (well, a good baby hehe).
  5. Joint release exercises as extra stuff during the day, besides a full yoga practice every day. Your joints are going to thank you when you are older. Do you want to be that grandma/grandpa that can still enjoy movement and life in old age or do you want to be the grumpy old person full of pain that can barely move anymore? What you do now builds your future, besides making this present moment more enjoyable too. If you are stiff, there is no excuse not to practice yoga. You might need it even more. Leave the judgement at the door and find a teacher you trust. Go get a mat and step into your first yoga class if you haven’t done that yet. Keeping up your practice is going to make your winter so much better.
  6. Sweat! – Sauna is great! Sweaty yoga with many Vinyasas and extra strength and natural inspired movements outside of my full practice (like frog jumps, walking squat etc) that heat us up are amazing. Really important to keep that body moving in winter even though you might feel like hibernating most of the time. The more you move, the more you’ll feel like moving. It’s pure physics!
  7. Eat good,healthy and nourishing food. Use spices (cinnamon, pepper, ginger etc). Warm soups are always a good idea. Dedicate time and care for what you feed your body and mind.
  8. Meditate at least a few minutes every day. Keep that mind clear and sharp.
  9. Rest – that is also important. Go to bed early if your body asks you to do that.
  10. Listen to nice and cozy music. Choose nice readings. Less time for computer right before bed.

So here you go. A few of my secret tips.

Share more in the comments below if you have some secret ones too. It’s good to learn from each other 🙂

Wish you a lovely weekend! Trevlig helg allihopa!

From my heart to yours,


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Join us on November 25th, 4-6 PM for “Backbends for everyone” technique, theory & practice workshop in Gothenburg. More about this event here.

© Unfold Your Mat 2017

Göteborg, Sweden


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