Sunday, December 6, 2015

4 Holiday Poses 4 You!

Are you rushing around getting ready for the holiday season?  Remember give your body and mind some loving and forgiving energy too.  By taking small breaks you will rejuvenate your energy and improve your focus.  Here are 4 holiday-themed poses for you to consider.  Only try the harder ones if you feel comfortable with them or have help from an instructor.  Always listen to your body and breathe deeply.  Enjoy and Happy December!

1.  Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Technically, Uttanasana is a Forward Fold, where you keep your back straight and your chest slightly open while folding forward from the hips.  But during the holidays, why not go easy on yourself?  Simply bend forward like a big candy cane and let the back side of your body open.  Shake your head yes & no to relieve tension in your neck.  Bend your knees a little.  Maybe grab opposite elbows.   Let the heaviness of your head pull your spine long.  Rock forward on your toes a little to increase the stretch to your hamstrings.  Breathe deeply and luxuriate.

2.  Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

This classic yoga pose is a favorite for kids from 1 to 92.  Although it’s been said many times, many ways, Tree Pose is wonderful for balance, strength and focus.  It’s a great hip opener too.  Begin by standing in Mountain Pose.  Shift your weight to one foot and feel as if roots are helping you balance.  Place the bottom of your other foot on your standing leg, above or below your knee.  Bring your hands together in front of your heart or lift them wide over your head like the branches of a tree.  Focus on one spot and let your branches sway gently in the wind.

3.  Plow (Halasana)

This asana resembles more of an old-style farm plow than a modern-day snow plow, but for the holidays we can stretch our imaginations a little further.  Lay on your back.  Breathe in and lift your feet toward the sky then breathe out and bring them over your head.  If your toes don’t touch the ground behind you, put your hands on your back for support.  If you can touch, push your toes down like a plow pushing snow.  Bend your knees if it feels nice.  Breathe deeply and relax.  Finish by gently rolling to the floor, keeping your head on the ground.

4. Candlestick (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Can you say “Abs”?  Candlestick, formally known as Shoulder Stand, is a great workout for your abdominals.  From Plow Pose, bend your elbows and place your palms on your lower back for support.  Lift your feet straight up into the air like a candlestick.  Wiggle your toes like a dancing candle flame. IMPORTANT:  Do NOT turn your head in this pose!  Look straight up at your nose or toes.  Take at least 3 deep breaths.  Go back into Plow Pose before rolling slowly to the floor.

We hope these festive drawings and yoga pose ideas will lift your spirits and bring a smile to your face.  This Holiday season, may the love in your heart conquer all fear. May we all, in our own small ways and lovingly toward one another, contribute to humanity’s collective goal of Peace on Earth.