Even when the holiday stress is over, it can still take awhile to decompress. And with the new year ringing in, it is important to allow yourself some quality me-time; so give yourself space to unwind and settle into a new routine this year with this simple, do-anywhere yoga flow. Namaste!
Start at the back of the mat with your knees wide, hips to your feet, and big toes to touch. Walk your hands forward until you feel a stretch in your shoulders. Rest your forehead on the mat and press your chest down. Take a minute or longer here in Child’s Pose to focus on your breath and slow down your thoughts.
Cat and Cow
Lift yourself up on all fours into a table top position with your hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. On an inhale, dip your belly down as you lift your head and tailbone up for Cow pose. On an exhale, round your upper back, hollow out your belly and tuck your chin into your chest for Cat pose. Repeat 3-5 times to warm up the spine.
Downward Facing Dog
Lift your hips up for Downward Facing Dog. Spread your fingers wide and root your hands firmly into the mat. Pull your shoulders away from your ears and press your chest towards your thighs to lift your hips higher. Keep your feet hip width distance and work your heels towards the mat. If your hamstrings feel tight, keep bent knees.
Ragdoll with Shoulder Opener
Walk your feet up behind your wrists, hip width distance. Bend your knees deeply and let your belly lay on your thighs. Interlace your hands behind your back, squeeze your palms together, and work your hands toward the top of your head to get a deep shoulder stretch.
Release your hands and with bent knees, rise all the way to standing. Inhale to lift your hands overhead and bring your palms to touch. On an exhale, lift up and back as you press your hips forward. Keep feet firmly rooted in the mat.
Fold forward, plant your palms, and step back to a high plank position. Lower all the way down and keep your hands underneath your shoulders. Point your toes, so the tops of your feet are on the mat, and lift your knees up. With little weight in your hands, lift your chest up for Cobra. Pull your shoulder blades towards one another and keep the back of your neck long. Lower down and press back into Downward Facing Dog.
From Downward Facing Dog, step one foot forward between your palms for a low lunge. Straighten out both legs and come into Modified Pyramid. If your hamstrings feel tight, lift your back heel and keep a bend in your front knee. Hold for a few breaths to stretch the back of your leg.
Step your back foot forward to meet your front foot at the top of your mat. Keep your knees bent and rise to a chair pose. Squeeze feet, knees and thighs together as you pull your hips back and down. Reach your arms overhead or out in front of you. Pull your belly button in towards your spine to engage your core.
Rise up from chair pose with one leg and cross your ankle on top of the opposite thigh for Figure 4. Bring your hands together at your chest. Balance here or lower your chest down to get a stretch on the outside of your thigh.
Stand back up with the top leg lifted and kick that leg back for a Warrior 3. Reach your arms straight out in front of you. Keep your lifted leg and chest parallel to your mat and try to straighten your standing leg. This pose is great for strengthening the core, so stay engaged as you balance.
From here, step back and open up to a Warrior 2. Point your front toes forward and your back toes toward the side wall so that your front heel is in line with the arch of your back foot. Stack your shoulders directly over your hips, both facing the side wall. Reach your arms front and back, keeping them in one line. Gaze over your front fingertips.
Keep your lower half the same as Warrior 2 and reach your front arm up and back to stretch your front side body in Reverse Warrior. Maintain the bend in your front knee and keep your back hand light on your back thigh.
Low Lunge Twist
Release your hands to the front of your mat to frame your foot as your pivot your back heel high. Whichever leg is forward, try to keep that hip lowered down as you lift your arm on that same side for a Low Lunge Twist. Reach your fingertips up as you peel your shoulder back.
After you repeat the flow 3-4 times, make your way to a set. Extend your legs out in front of you and flex your toes towards your chest. Reach your arms overhead to find length in your spine and keeping that length, fold over your legs reaching for your feet (or wherever your hands land). If your low back feels tight, keep a bend in your knees.
Release onto your back and hug one knee into your chest as you extend the other leg long. Cross your hugged knee to the opposite side of your body for a Supine Twist. Keep both shoulders flat on your mat and only twist from your hips.
Pull both knees into your chest and squeeze into a tight ball on a deep inhale. Exhale to release everything out long. Extend your legs, let your feet fall open. Bring your arms out to your sides with your palms facing up. Relax your entire body and lay in stillness for 3-5 minute for your final resting pose, Savasana.