Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Canadian Yogi's Winter Guide to Walking to Yoga Class

This morning I woke up to -27 degree Celsius (-16 F) with windchill outside. Wtf???

(Our street this evening around 5:20pm)

The day before we had a winter storm which I walked to work instead of driving on the messy roads. Supposedly, most of Canada is being struck with an "Artic Wave" of cold weather with temperatures as low as -40's Celsius with windchill.

This weather is supposed to continue for the rest of the week.

I am a firm believer that if possible, especially in Canada, cold weather shouldn't stop my life (within safety reasons). Every city I've lived in across the country has had typical Canadian winters that dip well into freezing. Honestly, it's something I love about Canada- the four distinct seasons, the snow and bundling up for the outside... and how easy it is to keep the beer cold at the cottage.

(our street this evening around 5:20pm)

I walked a grand total of 40min outside today and I'll be walking again tomorrow. Just like if I had a yoga class to attend in the city (updates on this topic coming shortly!), I would walk.

Of course, you can't just throw any old winter apparel and march off to yoga in this kind of weather. With a few practical precautions it's possible to make it to class without frost bite, or windchill burned cheeks (which actually happened to me last week- I didn't properly wrap my scarf...).
(just got back from work!)

Here's what you need to transform your yogi self into an eco-winter walkin' yogi:

  • Winter boots. REAL winter boots, none of this fashionable stuff with heels. Invest in good winter boots that have a good lining and preferably go up to your knee. You live in Canada, you'll use them again, trust me. For slushy cities there are rubber boots you can find with a removable lining...
  • Winter jacket. Something that will actually keep you warm. Down to your knees and a hood are preferable. A longer coat will keep your thighs warmer and a hood is handy for snow. There are environmental options (like HoodLamb). 
  • A LINED tuque (hat). Why would you buy a winter hat that is knitted and unlined? Wind will whip right through them. Also, you are going to a yoga class, so hat head shouldn't matter anyway.
  • Lined mittens. Mittens keep your fingers warmer than gloves because they can intermingle, instead of separate exposed to the elements through the material.
  • Leg warmers. This is an essential part- since there is always a part of your legs that are exposed. Leg warmers are much easier to remove before a yoga class than long johns UNDER your yoga pants.
  • A long-wide scarf. The dimensions are important, since you can fold the scarf in half width wise for extra protection and carefully wrap it several times around your head, chin, mouth and nose. 

The best order for getting ready?

  1. Leg warmers positioned high on your thighs.
  2. Boots (trying to put on boots after you have your big bulky jacket on is awkward)
  3. Scarf- carefully wrap it covering as much of your face as possible.
  4. Jacket- tucking the scarf in.
  5. Tuque
  6. Hood up
  7. Mittens
There you go! A Canadian Yogi's guide to walking to yoga class :)


  1. I just started a new job so have been trying to walk to work. So far I've made 3 trips total :) But today was rough. The sidewalks coming up from downtown were not that great. Anyhoo, I have trouble wrapping a scarf around my head because if it covers my nose, then my glasses fog up :(

    1. oh the sidewalks... i need steel spikes on my shoes! last week I feel TWICE on my walk to the ferry. :S
      Oh no! I didn't think about glasses... that would definitely be a pain!

  2. You are right. It is freezing cold here in Toronto too. It reminds me of a joke - It was so cold that if the thermometer had been an inch longer, we would have frozen to death :-)

    1. ah boo! I heard it was so much colder in Ontario- I shouldn't really be complaining since in comparison Halifax doesn't have it that bad...

  3. I feel bad writing this, but having lived in Michigan, I understand this post. Now, however, I live in Arizona. We just had our week of winter. We froze in 40 degree (F) weather. This week we had record highs for January near 80. But come August I will be writing the post on how to deal with heat while it is glorious in Halifax. I hope you survive this cold. I am glad to see you are prepared. That makes all the difference. Also, I think it is great you walk so much even in the cold. I loved to walk in the winter in Michigan!

    1. Ah- yes the heat. We lived in a semi arid desert for two years and the summers almost killed us! i much prefer the coastal weather :) I'm glad I'm not alone though in enjoying walking outside in the cold :)

  4. heh, the funniest part for me is when i'm running late and there's "the great stripdown" to get down to my first layer of yoga duds :)


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