Yoga Flow to Beat the Winter Blues
Around this time of year, the cold weather, extra time indoors, and decreased sunshine can take a toll on our bodies, making us more prone to fatigue, viruses, and the winter blues.
This short but sweet twist-filled yoga flow provides an immunity and energy boost and helps with digestion. It’s like giving your body a shot of espresso, without the caffeine! The most important thing you can do here is breathing deeply and enjoy.
Chair Pose Twist
From standing, bend your knees like you’re about to sit into a chair, with weight in your heels and arms reaching up by your ears, shoulders down, chest lifted, belly muscles strong. Bring hands to heart’s center and twist to one side, placing your bottom elbow against the outside of your outer thigh to deepen the twist. With each breath, twist a bit deeper as you anchor from your pelvis, twisting from your waist. Repeat on the other side, taking a forward fold between sides.
From standing, inhale your arms high as you lift your gaze up, then exhale as you fold forward. Inhale to a halfway lift, extending from your spine and resting hands on shins, and on your exhale, step your feet back to plank and lower down to chaturanga by moving forward on your toes and bending your elbows to 90 degrees as legs stay straight (alternatively, drop knees to the floor). Inhale up onto your hands to Cobra or upward facing dog, lifting out of your shoulders and looking ahead, and exhale to downward dog, lifting hips back and drawing heels toward the floor. Do at least 3 rounds.
High Lunge twist
From a high lunge, bring hands to heart’s center, lengthen through your spine, and twist from your waist, keeping hips square. Bring your bottom elbow to the outside of your outer thigh like in chair twist and take 3-5 breaths. Repeat on other side.
Starting from a high lunge, reach your arms high, clasping your hands together overhead like Charlie’s Angels. Press forward onto your front foot and create a T shape with your body, reaching as long as you can from fingertips to toes. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on other side.
Lying flat on your back, palms facing down, slide your hands under your seat as you prop yourself onto your forearms and lift your heart. Keep your legs extended long.
Standing with feet together, cross your right elbow under your left elbow like you’re about to give yourself a hug, and lift your hands up to connect (if they don’t easily lift, just hug it out!). Then cross your right knee over your left knee and either rest your right toes on the floor or tuck your toes behind your left calf. Lift your fingertips toward the ceiling as you lower your hips like chair pose. Take 3-5 breaths. Repeat on other side.
Try “nesting your eagle” by folding from your hips during the pose, touching your elbows to your knees, then lifting back up again.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Bring the souls of your feet together, making a diamond shape with your legs. Let your knees splay open. Rest one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Breathe.
Lying on your back, bend your knees so you can reach your heels with your longest fingers. Lift your hips high and if possible, clasp your hands against the floor under your back and press your arms toward the floor to lift your hips and deepen the backbend . This is really nice with a pillow or block propped under your sacrum.
The best part of the practice! Lying flat on your back, palms up, relax completely from head to toe. Allow your eyes to close, or cover them with a shirt or towel to block out the light. Let your breath slow down and stay here for a few minutes
Hug your right knee into your chest. With your left hand, cross your knee toward your left side, turning your gaze to the right and extending your right arm to the side. Repeat on the other side.