Gain complete control of your body, mind and senses this January with a yoga sequence to detoxify and renew.
Every New Year brings fresh aspirations to “be a better you” with health and fitness goals topping our list of resolutions. Here are just a few reasons why a short, daily Yoga practice will help you to fulfill your personal objectives:
- Self practice results in ownership of your routine, you make the rules that fit in and suit your lifestyle
- This private time is perfect for losing the toxicity that clutters our minds. The reason that we do not adhere longterm to any physical activity starts with the brain and the following sequence will help you to focus the mind to influence the body.
- The benefits of even small amounts of daily physical activity impact our energy levels and stimulate our bodies intrinsic cleansing process resulting in a healthy glow and much greater functionality.
This is a short sequence which can be completed in a quick 10 minute session or you can extend it by repeating the sequence to create a longer practice to suit your needs.
To begin, we move into the down facing dog position. Find the posture by pushing back from plank so that you ensure your hands and feet are in the correct position. Your hands are shoulder width apart and weightless upon the mat; practice taking them off one at a time with ease. Use the large part of the hands (with greatest mass and padding) to take the weight, relieving the fingers.
Your feet are hip-width apart, parallel and stable. Energy travels up through the back, continually lifting away from the floor and your legs stabilise the posture. Encourage the greatest distance from your heels to your pelvis and push back with the heels – targeting the floor.
Take a few deep breathes and hold. Feel the stretch along your spine and down your arms and legs.
From downward facing dog we move into warrior 1 – the fighting stance and the best position to reflect upon what is about to happen or what we have just experienced.
Try to create the very best position for speed and agility; a warrior should be able to move on any plan at any time, for both attack and defence.
Foster a shorter stride distance than other postures, with your feet hip width apart and never lined up one in-front of the other – this would be in preparation for a ‘dancer’ not a ‘warrior’. Your back foot should be acting as the root, slightly blocked, allowing the pelvis to sit naturally without swinging back on one side. Your front knee should be bent directly over your ankle, your shin forms a straight line up from the floor.
The shoulders hold the posture in place and allow the arms to move. Reach up strongly through the arms, towards the ceiling – feel your ribcage lift as you push up, through your chest.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths (or as long as is comfortable). Inhale and push out of the pose from the back leg; straighten the front knee and bring your back foot forward. Rest for a few breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
Finally move into pigeon pose, a posture for therapy.
If you are new to this posture, take your time to become comfortable in the pose as it must not compromise either knee.
When you first try this pose, enter it from an “all fours” position. Here you have the stability to take your time and ensure that your front leg turns out as much as possible to stimulate the muscles around the pelvis. Slide back once in position until you locate a stretch around the buttocks and outer thigh on your front leg.
As you become more confident you can enter from the downward facing dog by simply sweeping your leg into the turned out position. Try to encourage as much external rotation of the femur (thigh bone) as possible – this can only be done over time. Try not to roll forward and miss the stretch around the pelvis. Push the opposite side of the pelvis towards the front foot for a greater result.
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This post was written by Jayne Nicholls, founder and director of Group X Training, creator of ‘Freestyle Fitness Yoga’, writer and pioneer. Jayne has spent a lifetime moving to music and has been in the industry for 25 years, initially in fitness before moving into yoga 16 years ago. She has worked as a fitness presenter, has a permanent column in Fitpro magazine and writes for several other publications on a regular basis. In her role as Director of Group X Training, Jayne now helps others “be the best that they can be” by providing the very best training and industry standard qualifications in Yoga & Fitness. If you would like to take your yoga practice a step further and see how you could make your passion your profession, why not consider training to become a fully qualified yoga instructor?