We all want to start off the new year with a bang, whatever that means. And yoga can help with that.
The coolest thing about yoga, is that it works your tangible body — the muscles, ligaments, tendons and organs — and the intangible body — the mind, emotions, hormones and energies that make you, YOU on any given moment of any day.
Here is a quick detoxifying yoga sequence to do on its own, add to your longer home practice, or pull inspiration from to make you strong, lean and clean, from the inside out.
Sequence reads from left to right.
The sequence begins with a cleansing practice targeted at your intestines and stress hormones.
1. Sit on your heels with your knees together. If this is uncomfortable you can use a blanket between the backs of the thighs and calves or come to a standing position. Bring your hands into fists to your middle/lower abdomen. Inhale fully.
2. Exhale completely out of your mouth and fold forward, gently pressing your fists up into your abdomen, and optionally massaging your gut.
Repeat 1-3 times as necessary, aiming to release any physical and mental toxins your are holding.
3. This pose is one of the most beneficial twists in the yoga library. Start in a squat and balance on your toes. You can put something under your heels if it feels better for you. Twist to the right, bringing the left forearm outside of the right knee, lifting and extending through the right arm up toward the sky.
Hold here and breathe, optionally binding the right arm behind the back. Hold 5-10 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
4. Boat Pose targets your core, but more importantly will show you how strong you already are.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and heels close to your sit bones. Press your hands onto the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing toward the feet, engaging the arms. Exhale and lift through the chest as you lift your feet off the floor and come into a V-shape. Lift the hands and extend through the arms, palms face up at either side of your body.
Keep the core engaged and breathe easily for 5 -10 breaths and remember to believe that you can do it! Optional: bend at the knees.
5. Seated spinal twist is basic, but so essential. From a seated position, bring the sole of your right foot to the inside of your left thigh. Cross the left foot over the outside of the right thigh, bringing the left heel closer to the right hip. Reach behind you with your left hand, fingers pointing away from you and press into your palm. Inhale and extend the right arm straight up overhead and exhale, drawing the outside of the right elbow to the left knee as you twist from the navel.
As you breathe, feel yourself twisting out any remaining gunk you have in your mind or your body. Make sure that both sit bones are firm on the ground and hold for 5-10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
6. Finish with shoulder stand, one of the most powerful poses for your thyroid.
Lie down flat and lift your feet over your head on an inhale, bringing your palms just above your sacrum, drawing the elbows in closer to the sides of your body. Exhale and extend the legs skyward, keeping the chin tucked and palms pressed into your back. Extend through the legs all the way out the soles of the feet.
Close your eyes when you get there and let your mind and body be still.
Hold for one to two minutes (or longer if it feels good) and enjoy!
Photos courtesy of the author