It can be a challenge to transition from the hedonism of the holiday season into healthy habits in the New Year! Many people make resolutions to be healthier, more fit and more energized. Practicing yoga is a great way to ease into a more active lifestyle during these cold, dark months. Jade, our resident graphic designer extraordinaire, is also a talented yoga instructor. She put together a couple of poses that will help to stretch and strengthen your body which in turn helps to manage stress!
This posture is a great hip opener.
Sitting with your spine straight, bring your feet together so that your heels and little toes are touching. The knees will splay out as you open your feet up like a book. If the knees are high up off the ground, don't use force to push them down. Instead just gently let the weight of your knees come down towards the ground. Continue to sit up tall, keep a neutral facial expression and breathe fully for 5-10 breaths. If your knees are close to or on the floor, after taking the 5-10 breaths sitting straight up, draw in your lower abdomen and reach your chest and chin forward exhaling as you continue to open up your feet and again, take 5-10 breaths. This will bring you deeper into the posture and give your hips more of a stretch. This posture is extremely beneficial for stimulating the abdominal organs, stretching the inner thighs, hips and knees and increasing circulation. Some traditional yoga texts state that Baddha Konasana is one of the most important postures.
This posture engages the entire body and opens up the heart.
Sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and feet together, bring your hands behind you about a foot back with your fingers facing in the direction of your feet. As you inhale, press down into your hands and send your hips up as you reach your toes down towards the floor. Again, keep a neutral facial expression as well as an engaged core and let your head come back as you take 5 full breaths. On the last exhale, lower your hips down. If pushing up from the floor is too challenging to start, you can hold on to the back of a chair, again with your fingers facing your feet, knees start off bent and as you inhale, lift your hips and straighten the legs. This posture strengthens the arms, legs and wrists and gives a good stretch to the shoulders, chest and feet.
I hope you enjoy these postures and that they bring you strengthen and flexibility in the New Year!