Fast Yoga moves That Spare the Spirit
Yoga postrues can help you feeling energized and in the spirit during the holidays.
When things start to move fast your holiday spirit can get depleted. Keep up with the season with these fast Yoga moves that offer an boost in needed energy and a good mood so you can stay present and take in all the holidays have to offer.
Inverted Yoga Position #1: Legs up the Wall Pose: Viparita Karani
This pose is known to ease anxiety, reduce stress and lower blood pressure while stretching the hamstrings, legs and lower back.
1. Find an open wall space. Start seated beside the wall, with your feet on the floor in front of you and your left side body in contact with the wall. On an exhale, gently lie down on your back and pivot yourself so that the backs of your legs are pressing against the wall and the bottoms of your feet are facing up. You may need to wiggle around to find your way into this position.
2. Your sitting bones should now be pressed up against the wall, or slightly away from the wall, and your back and head rested on the floor; this will form approximately a 90-degree angle in your body.
3. If you find this position uncomfortable in any way, or just wish for extra cushion, you can use your prop here. By pressing the bottoms of your feet into the wall, lift your hips slightly and slide your prop underneath your hips.
4. Let the back of your head be heavy and your neck be in a neutral position. Soften your face and your throat. Let your hands rest either on your belly or down by your sides, palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and breath deeply through your nose.
5. Stay here for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. To come out of the position, push the bottoms of your feet into the wall and lift your hips slightly. Gently roll to one side, being sure to slide your support out of the way if you have used one. Stay on your side for a few breaths before returning to your seat.
Inverted Yoga Position #2: Shoulderstand Pose: Salamba Sarvangasana
This pose stretches shoulders and the upper spine to calm the nervous system and relieve stress. Also great for the digestive system, it stimulated the thyroid and helps flush out mucous.
1. Have a support under your shoulders to create more freedom and ease for your neck. Fold and stack a couple firm blankets large enough to support the width and depth of your shoulders. A sticky mat placed over the blankets will help the upper arms stay in place while you are inverting.
2. As you lie on the blanket support, position your shoulders on the blankets so your neck and head drape and rest on the floor. Your 7th cervical vertebra, or the largest boney point on the back of your neck, should still be on the blankets.
3. Lay your arms on the floor alongside your torso, bend your knees, and contract your abdominal muscles.
4. As you exhale, press your arms against the floor so your feet, knees and back lift from the floor.
5. As your back keeps lifting, place your hands on your lower back as you draw your thighs into the front torso. Make sure you are supporting your back with the whole palm and not just with your thumbs and index finger
6. Continue to support your lower back as you draw your elbows towards each other. Then, raise your pelvis more so the thighs can lift to horizontal over your shoulders. With little or no weight on the lower neck, lightly turn the head side to side to increase ease and space in the mid and upper neck region
7. Bring your head back to neutral and if you neck feel comfortable, move your hands from your lower back closer to your back ribs without letting the elbows slide outwards. Move your pelvis more over your shoulders listening to how your neck feels.
8. Bring your feet and knees together. As you inhale, lift your bent knees towards the ceiling, bringing your thighs into a perpendicular line with your torso. As your knees remain bent, draw your tailbone toward your pubis and rotate your upper thighs inward slightly.
9. With your next inhale, straighten your knees, sending the heels up toward the ceiling. Once the legs are fully lengthened, reach up through the balls of the big toes creating length through the inner edges of the legs.
10. As you slowly breathe, gaze softly into the chest, relax the tongue, throat and facial muscles. Keep your chin perpendicular with the floor as you firmly press the backs of the upper arms and shoulders into the mat. The back of your neck should feel no pressure to tension.
11. Beginners should stay in the pose for about 30 seconds and gradually increase the length of time within this pose until it is comfortable to stay for five minutes at a time.
12. To exit, exhale and slowly bend your knees letting your thighs drape over your shoulders.
13. Contract your abdominal muscles to keep your pelvis over your shoulders. Place your arms on the mat, shoulder width apart. Keeping your head on the ground, knees bent, slowly and carefully roll your back onto the ground.
14. Once your hips rest on the mat, hug your knees into your chest and rock from side to side.
15. Return to the center and rest for several seconds.
Inverted yoga positions help to get blood pumping to one of the most important body parts to you during the holidays: your brain. Try slipping in a few of these poses when you can to increase energy levels, and restore your holiday spirit.
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