Contributor: Hannah Lovegrove
So, this is Christmas, the week we’ve all been planning and preparing for, yet the build-up can leave us feeling frazzled and unable to enjoy our down-time. With the dark, the cold, the short days and the party season, it’s difficult at this time of year to maintain our positive habits of eating well and taking regular exercise. And this can spiral us downwards into stress, anxiety and sleeplessness. It takes a concerted effort to break the pattern, to release those pent-up feelings and regain our equilibrium so that we can rest, relax and sleep properly.
To help you, I’ve devised a sequence of yoga postures that will settle your brain and develop the mental and emotional stability you may have lost during the festivities. This stability is important if you want to ‘get a grip’ and re-set your balance when the party season is over. We are hostages to our emotional stability and yoga is a very effective tool for securing and maintaining that balance.
Why not give yourself a few days’ break? Set aside the alcohol and processed carbs, take some proper exercise, and re-establish your equilibrium so that you can start the New Year off on the right foot.
This Iyengar Yoga sequence will take about 30 minutes. Using a kitchen timer (not your phone!) will help you to switch off completely. You can vary the timing and poses depending on what you need but the sequence is important. First, the brain is cooled, then the intelligence of the head and the heart are brought back into balance, and finally you can draw inward to experience inner quiet
If you have any problems, or want more information, please contact me at www.hannahlovegrove.com
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Dog Pose
Head resting on a support, a bolster or pile of blocks. You need to fill up the gap between your head and the floor, so your head and neck are comfortable. (Hold the pose for 5 breaths then come down, x3 repeats.)
Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
From a chair or the sofa with a wide cushion under your shoulders. This may take a few attempts before you get it right but it’s delightful – very good for the thyroid gland and helps to ‘re-set’ your metabolism. Sit well back on the sofa, swing your legs up over the back and your head and shoulders down towards the floor. Let your legs rest on the back of the sofa. Have to hips on the seat, the shoulders on the cushion and the back of your head on the floor. There should be no pressure in the throat or head – if there is, slide down, wait a moment then try again. It may take a few attempts. (Stay for 5-7 minutes.) Have fun!
Legs over a chair. Get the backs of your knees to curve around the edge of the chair. (Hold for 3 minutes.)
Paschimottanasana – Forward Bend
Perch on the edge of the seat. Try putting a folded blanket deep into the groins and resting over that. If your hamstrings or lower back are tight, take your feet apart. (Hold for 2-3 minutes.)
Prasarita Padottansana – Wide Angle Leg Pose.
Support your elbows and head on a chair. Extend your legs fully, with your feet absolutely parallel. (2 minutes, releasing and repeating as necessary.)
Sitting on your blocks, bring the soles of your feet together. Support the lift of your trunk with your hands behind you on bricks or blocks if necessary. Maintain a steady, comfortable pose, don’t ‘bounce’ the thighs. (2 minutes, releasing and repeating as necessary.)
Savasana – Corpse Pose
You can lie with bent legs if you have a weak lower back, or with straight legs. If you some place heavy cushions on your thighs, the weight helps to lift the chest and open the lungs. It’s extremely restful for the body. (5-10 minutes.)