Christmas and New Year involve a large amount of eating and drinking, socialising and general merriment. This can leave you feeling a little stagnant come January and lacking in zeal to get back into our exercise regime.
When it comes to getting back into a routine or getting into yoga in general, you might have all the intention but not know where to start. To help you with this, we’ve put together a short, energy-boosting and digestive-sparking yoga sequence to help inspire movement and dust off any cobwebs.
1. Cat cow
After a few weeks of lots of choccies and heavy food, the cat/cow position will help you bring some stretch into your abdomen and get those digestive fires burning again. It's also a great yoga move for better posture (opens in new tab), as well as loosening the back muscles, aiding flexibility in the neck and stretching the core.
Step 1: Come to your hands and knees with your wrists roughly stacked under your shoulders and knees under the hips. Spread your fingers wide.
Step 2: On an inhale, begin to tilt your pelvis towards the ceiling and move your belly towards the floor, looking up.
Step 3: On an exhale, start to tuck your pelvis, rounding your back while pressing the floor away from you and tucking your chin towards your chest.
Step 4: Continue this for a few rounds until you feel your back, spine and wrists have loosened. Make the movement slow to start with but you can increase the speed gradually if you wish.
2. Downward dog variations
Downward dog is a go to yoga posture, helping to loosen the whole body and wake you up. After weeks of relaxing, your body might feel a little tight so use this move as a way to warm up gently.
Step 1: From an all fours position, walk your hands slightly forward so there’s an angle to your wrist and shoulders and tuck your toes under. Take a breath in and on an exhale, start to lift your knees off the floor as you take your hips high and back, coming into a downward dog. Keep spreading your fingers wide to spread the weight for your wrists.
Step 2: Settle into your downward dog, walking on the spot if your hamstrings feel tight. Take a few breaths before trying the next step.
Step 3: Bring your feet closer together, towards the center line of your mat. On an inhale, lift your right leg up and back behind you, stretching out through the heel. Keep lifting as high as you can comfortably go.
Step 4: If you want to go deeper and bring in a hip flexor stretch, bend your right knee and start to take your right heel towards your left buttock, twisting and opening out to the right side of your mat. Take a few breaths here.
Step 5: Repeat this sequence on the other leg before beginning to walk forward towards your hands.
3. Dynamic squat
From the downward facing dog position, you should now find yourself in a standing forward bend. From here, we’re going to come in and out of a dynamic squatting pose, resembling the chopping of wood. This is great for shaking off the cobwebs after a heavy month of overindulging. We’ll be building some heat in the body, stimulating the digestive fire and loosening up our joints all at the same time.
Step 1: Turn your toes out to the side and begin to lower your hips towards the floor into a squat. Play about with the positioning of your feet and toes; you may need to turn your toes out more or less, or move your feet wider or closer together.
Step 2: Bring your palms together and interlock your fingers. On an inhale, lift up from your squat while also raising your hands over your head. On an exhale, begin to enter into your squat, bringing your hands down at the same time. Do this with some speed and force but you shouldn’t experience any pain in your knees. If you do, stop and skip this part of the sequence.
Step 3: Come to a still squat after a number of repetitions and take a few breaths before moving onto the next pose.
4. Dynamic twist
This dynamic twist is the last of the energetic postures in this sequence. It helps to kick start digestion and wake you up (if the dynamic squat didn’t quite do that for you!)
Step 1: Come to a crossed legged position and hook your hands together (think of a bra strap hook), elbows wide.
Step 2: On an inhale, turn to one side keeping your hands in this position and on an exhale, turn to the other. Do this with some speed but be mindful and pay attention to your body. The movements don’t need to be huge, go to your natural range of movement.
Step 3: Repeat for a few rounds, making sure to stop before you feel dizzy.
5. Hero pose
The last posture involves you sitting quiet and still, allowing your body to soak up all of the goodness from the previous postures. You can also do this crossed-legged if this is more comfortable for your knees.
Step 1: Sit back on your heels. You can use a blanket over your heels if this is more comfortable.
Step 2: Place your hands on your thighs or in your lap and close your eyes. Begin to focus on your breath.
Step 3: Stay here for a few minutes until you feel ready to continue with your day.