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Why winter is the best time to start doing yoga

Between the shopping, cooking, visiting, parties, bad weather and traveling, who’s got the time or energy to exercise?

Except that all those reasons you have for not exercising are exactly the reasons why you should.

The catch-22 is that it’s precisely during the holiday season when you’re doing more that you fall out of the good habits that keep you healthy. One of those should be yoga, and we talked to celebrity trainer Kristin McGee about why during a class hosted by the workplace insurance company Aflac.


Prevent accidents

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Yoga teaches awareness of your body and strengthens your core, which helps improve balance and can prevent injuries as ice and snow become a problem. “You’re using your own body to support yourself in poses, and you get that in the real world as well,” says McGee. “You’re much less likely to trip and fall; it’s easier for you to use your body in a way that’s safe.”


Keep your healthy resolutions on track

Using your body as leverage doesn’t just build muscles; research has shown it increases bone density. Even more than that, “you learn how to use your joints correctly, hinge from the right areas, not over-muscle your way through things, not overstretch, not pull things,” McGee says.

“The flexibility and the joint mobility is great for injury prevention as well because you’re not so stiff — a lot of times people injure themselves when a muscle is stiff.”


Don’t let stress wreck your mood

“Now that stress is so prevalent and that it’s one of the leading causes of disease, yoga really helps with stress release. And I think when we are more stressed, we don’t think as well and we’re more accident-prone,” says McGee. Learning to focus on your breath and clearing your mind during yoga can help you do the same when the holiday season becomes overwhelming.

"When you’re centered and you’re in a better place in your life and you feel fit and healthy on the inside and you’ve got that peace of mind, you just naturally move better.”


Start in your living room with Dirty Yoga

Yoga can take on an added dimension of serenity when you’re surrounded by a whole class full of people flowing from one pose to the next. But until you’re not the one toppling over during Tree pose, there’s Dirty Yoga, the Brooklyn-born online studio of yoga workouts that suit your experience level (including a Prep program for total newbies), available time and fitness goals — the “dirty” part is having it your way. There’s no chanting or meditation, just you getting flexible and strong at home.

 
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