Being born in Calgary, Canada and spending the bulk of my younger years in the northern parts of Canada's alarmingly cold prairies, I know a thing or two about staying warm in the winter. With winter's sudden appearance here in Oxford, I thought I'd shed some light on how to stay roasty toasty even when it hurts your face to be outside.
So important. Layering is key. As I type this I'm wearing yoga pants, jeans, a tank top, a long-sleeved base layer and a wool jumper. I'm currently in doors but when I go out I'll be adding a giant knit infinity scarf, wind-proof gloves (essential if you're a cyclist), a toque (Canadian for "beanie") and an oversize jacket (to fit over my layers, of course). This is great because you can add or subtract layers depending on the context. When practicing yoga, I'll strip down to the yoga pants and tank top. When sitting in a rather drafty English building, I'll add the jeans, base layer and jumper. Ever prepared, always warm.
2. Warm Socks
The power of a good pair of wool/knit socks should never be underestimated. Bodies quite purposely let their extremities (eg. fingers, toes) get cold first (you need them less than your abdomen), so keep your feet toasty before this happens! Tips for cheap people: invest in a quality pair of socks and wear over cheaper socks for repeat usage.
3. Fleece Onsies
Not only the pinnacle of fashion but also very practical. Put over other layers for maximum effect. Can even get a bit too warm! Added bonus: your toes are covered to protect from playful, toe-nibbling cats.
4. Get Moving
Walk briskly. Cycle quickly. Do 3 sun As followed by 3 fast sun Bs. Getting your blood flowing will warm you up much faster than curling up under the duvet!
5. Ginger Everything
Ginger is super heating so keep a bit of ginger root on standby for winter. Chop up a few pieces and add them to hot water with lemon. Combine with points 1, 2, 3 (and perhaps even 4 while the kettle's boiling) and you'll be warm in no time.
6. Get Warm in Warm Places!
Guess where the heat is now on? Yoga Quota. :) When I lived in Halifax, Canada I would walk to/from a hot yoga studio twenty minutes away from where I was living every day. The walk there was always really, really cold but after working up a sweat in a 38 degree room and throwing on layers overtop, I'd be roasting (and blissed out) on the walk home. The chill can even feel refreshing after a good, warm asana practice.
7. Bonus: Warm Boots
In Canada's cold and dry prairies sheepskin boots were suitably warm. In a wet climate like England (and Halifax where I used to live) they don't work so well. Now my winter boots (purchased to keep me warm living on Canada's east coast) are neoprene lined wellies (Bogs). They're guaranteed to keep you warm up to temperatures of -25 which seems a little excessive here (it wasn't in Canada), but hey! They keep my feet dry and very, very warm.
Good luck staying warm this winter! I look forward to helping you warm up at the studio.
* Disclaimer: the above photo wasn't taken during winter but rather in early September, 2014 (you can sort of tell by how green and leafy the trees are). Calgary has VERY unpredictable weather!