The final push of winter can feel like one of the most agonizing times of the year for many of us. The cold weather kicks in, the days get shorter, anxiety increases, and energy starts to tank. We burn out near the end of winter, finding ourselves completely exhausted. We need to reset.
In those moments where you feel particularly exhausted, try a simple yoga sequence to wake yourself up and reset your day.
Roll through a few cats and cows to wake up your back and release tension in your spine. Freeing up this tension in your spine will help awaken you. From all fours, take a deep inhale, arch your spine, and look up. Exhale, curl your spine and look down toward your navel. Go at any pace that feels right for you--if you’re feeling particularly sluggish, turn it into a kriya by arching and curling your spine as fast as you can while inhaling and exhaling sharply.
2. Downward dog split.
From all fours, tuck your toes under and stretch your legs into a downward facing dog. Keeping one foot grounded, lift the other leg up in the air, bend your lifted knee, and open up your hip. Explore with rolling your lifted leg’s hip or ankle in one direction and the other.
In downward dog, you're in an inversion with your head beneath your heart. Inversions help blood to flow to your brain, allowing for more oxygen to your brain. Invite in any sensations you might feel here.
3. Cross-legged forward fold.
From your down dog, place your lifted leg directly in front of the other leg for a down dog variation. From here, crawl your hands back to your feet and fold with your legs crossed. Feel the stretch and release in your hamstrings as you fold from your waist. If you’re feeling extra tight, place your hands on blocks or your shins.
Forward folds force us to drop our egos and tune inward. Even though your head is dropped, remain alert and active. By placing one leg crossed in front of the other, the pose calls for more attention. You bring energy to the pose by going in mindfully. Your body might be relaxed, but it is still strong and supported.
4. Side stretch.
From your forward fold, slowly start to roll on up, keeping your legs crossed. With your spine nice and long, lift your arms up above your head. Grab ahold of your wrist with your hand and take stretch over to the side. Feel the opening in your lungs and side body. Breathe into this spaciousness. Guide your breath into the areas that are still asleep.
5. Cross-legged plank.
With your legs still crossed, start to roll back down, crawling yourself out into a one-legged plank pose. One ankle should be resting on top of the other and you’re engaging your core like crazy. Hold this plank pose for a few breaths—make sure your hips are low, but not sinking, and make sure your shoulders are over your wrists. If you want more, take breath of fire, rapidly inhaling and exhaling through your nose.
Firing up your core strength creates internal heat, warming up and energizing the rest of your body.
6. Full surrender with hip variation.
Lower all the way down to the ground. Release your legs, rest your forehead to the ground, and stretch your arms out in front of you. Flip your palms upward, with a willingness to receive external energy. Draw one knee toward your rib cage, facing out at a 90 degree angle. Feel the opening of your inner groin and hip. Feel the sturdiness and strength of the ground beneath you. Close your eyes and breathe.
Taking a moment to surrender might seem like the opposite of energizing, but grounding for a moment helps reset your focus, offering mental clarity. When you’re ready, make your way back to all fours and repeat on the other side.