Oh my days, can you even believe we just got through another holiday season?
Happy Heckin New Year!
With all the eating, drinking, being merry and, well, not much else, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things.
We get out of our routines, sleep in, skip the exercise, but never the Christmas pud (because skipping the Christmas pud is just not sensible).
It’s fun. Boy is it fun. But if the festive season has left you feeling a little deflated – I’ve got some great yoga poses for you that are designed to get those stubborn turkey remains moving and leave you feeling like your sprightly self once more.
Apanasana (Knees to Chest)
One of the best things you can do to relieve bloat and tightness is to compress yourself. This pose offers a way to apply your own form of compression. Focus on squeezing your knees into your chest to create the compression in your abdomen.
Ok, I’ll stop saying compression now.
Hold it and breathe deeply for 30 seconds. You can practice this pose a few times in a row to really feel those digestive benefits.
This one is particularly good for massaging the internal organs – giving you a detox and encouraging the elimination of toxins.
This spinal twist will leave you feeling energised and focused, releasing fresh blood and nutrients into your digestive organs helping nourish and support them.
Begin in Apanasana (knees to chest pose). Drop your feet to the floor so your knees are facing the sky. Reach your arms out to the side and as you exhale, drop your knees to the left and turn your head to the right. Hold for five breaths, inhale and bring your legs back to the centre, then repeat on the right side.
Malasana (Garland Pose)
Malasana is great for opening up tight hips and bringing movement to your bowels. It also works a treat if you’ve been sitting down for a long time too aka: at the family Christmas loooonnng lunch.
Start with legs wide apart and slowly squat down. Turn your feet out to the sides.
Bring your hands to the heart in prayer position only if you can balance. If you have trouble or if the heels are off the ground, roll up your mat or a towel underneath. Stay here for 30 seconds, or up to a minute if you can.
Three-legged Downward Facing Dog
I particularly like three-legged d-dog. The feeling of holding your leg up is both grounding and lifting at the same time.
That lifted leg encourages blood to circulate around the body moving fluid to the lymph nodes.
This is a good relaxation pose, releasing stress and fear. If you can, flip the dog and end in wheel pose for a few breaths. Wheel pose is a great rejuvenator – stretching almost every muscle in your body.
Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
Supta Virasana is incredibly beneficial for your body, especially when it comes to digestion. It also gives you a deep stretch of the abdomen, thighs and hip flexors and strengthens your ankles.
It is an intermediate pose and if you can’t get all the way down, place a folded blanket or a bolster behind your tailbone to lay on.
Sit between your heels, then slowly start shifting your weight onto the elbows, simultaneously releasing the lower back and buttocks, pushing yourself down towards the tailbone. Lie back on the mat or the bolster, resting your head on the blanket, aiming to keep your thighs together.
Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Inhale into the lower lungs, then rib cage, then upper chest. Exhale with ease. This will promote circulation.
Bow pose will strengthen every single muscle of your body. It positively stimulates the digestive and reproductive organs ( for anyone who wants to get busy makin the babies). It’s a great posture for when you’re feeling a little sluggish, tired or stressed after having returned to work.
Begin by lying on your abdomen with your hands holding your ankles. As you exhale, bring your heels as close as you can to your buttocks, trying to keep your knees as close together as you can. As you inhale, lift your heels up toward the ceiling, drawing your thighs up as high as you can. Also lift your head, chest, and upper torso. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Hold for ten seconds and gently release lower your thighs to the mat. Repeat three times.
Let’s finish this sequence with a bang. Whenever I’m feeling sluggish or “low energy”, I jump into an inversion and sort myself right out.
There are too many benefits to list but the gist is that all this beautiful fresh, oxygenated blood is swooshing down from your toes to your tips! Circulation improves, digestive and respiratory systems are stimulated and toxins are released.
This one takes a little while to master and for step by step instructions see here. Try and hold it for ten or more breaths and focus on each one of them to clear out the carbon dioxide from the lungs.
Then once you’re up there – have fun!