It’s the holidays! That time of year where treats are abundant and we tend to celebrate a little bit too much, over indulging sweets, drinking a bit of extra holiday cheer, and since our calendars are packed with events we can also stray from our yoga and exercise routines.
Are you feeling a little icky from your holiday party last night, or maybe not eating as healthy as you usually do? Here are a few yoga postures that can help you feel a little better this holiday season and can assist in digestion.
- Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders pointing your fingertips to the top of your mat, and your knees under your hips placing your shins and knees hip-width apart. Keep your head in a neutral position and look downward.
- Start in Cow Pose, inhaling as you lower your belly towards the mat, lifting your chin and chest, to look up towards the ceiling.
- Then, move into Cat Pose, exhaling and pulling your belly to your spine and rounding your back towards the ceiling and lowering the crown of your head toward the floor.
- Inhale, coming back into Cow Pose, and then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
- Move with your flow of breath and repeat 10-20 times.
Wind Relieving Pose
- Lying on your back, inhale while bringing both knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your knees, holding on to opposite elbows, forearms, wrists or fingers.
- Tuck your chin into your chest with your head resting on the floor. Press your sacrum and tailbone down into the floor while pulling your knees into your chest with your arms.
- Press your shoulders and the back of your neck into the floor, you are trying to get your back and spine flat on the floor while relaxing your legs, feet and hips.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, breathing deeply into your belly and pressing it into your thighs on each inhale.
- Exhale and release the arms and legs onto the floor.
Lying Abdominal Spinal Twist
- Laying on your back, bend your knees putting the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing toward the ceiling.
- Press your feet into the mat to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them over to the right about an inch, this sets your hips up to stack one on top of the other when you move into the twist.
- Drawing your right knee into your chest, extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot flexed throughout the pose.
- Cross your right knee over your middle towards the floor on your left side. Your right hip should now be stacked on top of your left hip.
- Open your right arm to the right while keeping it in line with your shoulders and rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms and turn your palms toward the ceiling.
- Turn your head to the right and bring your gaze over your shoulder to look at your fingertips on your right hand.
- While exhaling, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths before rolling onto your back and pulling your right knee into your chest, then release both legs onto your mat for several breaths before repeating on the other side.
- Start by standing at the top of your mat with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides.
- Step your feet wide apart, about 4 to 5 feet, making sure that your heels are aligned with each other.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. The center of your right knee cap should be aligned with the center of your right ankle.
- Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle.
- Raise your arms to the side at shoulder level so they are parallel to your mat. Your arms should be lined up directly over your legs, with your palms facing down, reaching outwards with your fingertips.
- Exhaling, reach out over your right foot, shifting your left hip back so your tailbone and pelvis tilt toward the space behind your left foot while folding at your right hip. Keep your right ear, shoulder, and knee in line and don’t let your body fall forward. Reach towards the sky with your left hand.
- Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle, you can also place your hand on a block. Line up your shoulders so your left shoulder is directly above your right shoulder. Look towards your right hand.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths. To release the pose, inhale and press firmly through your left heel as you lift your upper body and lower your arms. Then turn to the left, and reverse the position of your feet to repeat the pose for the same length of time on the other side.
Seated Spinal Twist
- Start sitting on your mat with your legs extended out in front of you.
- Bending your right knee, place your right heel as close to your right sit-bone as you can. Then bend your left knee, crossing your left foot over your right knee. Plant your left foot on the floor so your left ankle is next to your right knee.
- Reach your left arm behind you placing your left palm on your mat. Then bend your right elbow and cross it over the outside of your left knee, keeping your elbow bent.
- Keeping your left hand on the floor to keep you for stable, look behind you and over your left shoulder. Continue to press your right arm into your left knee, and use each inhale to lengthen your spine and each exhale to twist further to the left.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and repeat on the opposite side.
- Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, extend your arms out on your mat, palms flat.
- Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor, exhaling as you lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
- Holding your bum off the floor try to avoid squeezing your glutes or flexing your buttocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and underneath your body and bring your hands together, clasping them underneath your bum. Straighten your arms as much as possible and press your forearms into the mat.
- Keep your thighs and feet lined up, try not to roll onto the outer edges of your feet or let your knees drop together. Try to keep your weight evenly spread across all four corners of both feet.
- Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths. To release it unclasp your hands placing them palms-down alongside your body. Exhale as you slowly lower your spine and hips onto your mat, vertebra by vertebra and allowing your knees to drop together.
- Beginning on your hands and knees, spread your knees as wide as your mat, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor with your big toes touching.
- Lower your belly to rest between your thighs and bring your forehead onto your mat.
- Stretching your arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor, stay in this pose as long as you like remembering to breathe deeply.