Thaw and cope

Stay warm with hot yoga, saunas and tea or get active in the outdoors.

In our 68 degree apartment, my four roommates, three cats and an assorted jungle of barely surviving house plants remain in a constant chill. In the morning we struggle to get out of the accumulated warmth tucked in our sheets. The plants, despite regular watering, wane from lack of sunlight. The cats, however, are resourceful, using each other for warmth. They lay, curled into one ball of grey and white and orange âÄî limbs over faces, tails on heads, pink noses tucked into chests. I envy their simple lives. The single-digit temperatures seep through my window panes, slink into the air and stifle my productivity. The winter adds anxiety to nearly everything: getting up, showering, walking, taking the bus, sitting through evening lectures in under-heated buildings, everything. Winter throws my balance out the window. People are transformed into booted, puffy, swishy, coated, scarf-wrapped, hunch-backed creatures, clenching teeth and counting down the number of city blocks until they reach their next, hopefully well-heated destination. ThereâÄôs nothing healthy about this state of mind. What, then, do we do? Cope. Become resourceful, like the cats, maybe not in a triple-cuddle formation, but possibly by taking their noses-tucked-into-chests position as inspiration. Relax. Stretch. Breathe. And sweat. Sweat? Yes. ItâÄôs possible to de-thaw this winter if you seek it out. If you are willing to trek a few blocks further in the cold, there are several ways you can warm up and find balance. The No. 1 way: hot yoga. Nothing is better for the tense body and mind than finding your chi in the comfort of a warm room with meditative music and the guidance of an instructor, skilled in the art of Zen. Hot yoga adds sweat-inducing temperatures of 98-103 degrees to the practice of yoga, allowing the muscles to stretch further, release more toxins and cause the workout to become more cardio-intensive. Yoga in general creates an environment free from stress, where one can focus on the strength of each muscle through a series of transitioning postures. After a typical 60-90 minute class, the focus on your physical balance will actually aid you in your mental balance. On the Minneapolis campus you can attend a hot yoga class free for a week at CorePower Yoga in Stadium Village . You can also take advantage of the Rec CenterâÄôs Jam Week that allows you to try out any of the sweat-inducing group fitness classes like yoga or spin for free until Sunday, Feb. 1. You can also utilize the Rec CenterâÄôs sauna facilities at any time to enjoy some relaxing heat. Another way to get warmth back into your frigid self is to drink hot tea. Not only will its natural herbs aid your tense muscles, breathing in its steam will calm your nerves, open up your congested sinuses and ease your dry skin. Brew up your own tea at home or head to your favorite locale, such as the Tea Garden , Namaste Café or La Société Du Thé . Once youâÄôve been able to sufficiently de-thaw, find a little balance and accept that Minnesota winters tend to string out until April, you might be able to bundle up and face the cold. This weekend, get your cross-country skis on and glide along a luminary course at the City of Lakes Loppet on Saturday night in Uptown. Head to France Avenue with your ice skates or rent a pair for $5 at Centennial Lakes . Or go to Coffman UnionâÄôs information desk, where you can get discount tickets to Spirit Mountain , The Depot and The Minnesota Zoo . Be resourceful, like my three cats and find warmth. Then, cope with the reality that winter is nowhere near finished. Enjoy it. Ashley Goetz accepts comments at [email protected]