Unwind and Settle Down with a Little Holiday Yoga
After all the Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, amid all the holiday shopping, partying, and traveling, here’s a little sequence from The Starr Conspiracy’s yoga elf, complete with pictures, the benefits of each pose, and a few comments on how to modify them.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Enjoy.
Half Forward Fold
- Do this against the wall or with your arms on a desk or, even better, on a bar top with a drink at the ready.
- It’s great for opening your shoulders and the front of your body, and helping realign your lower back.
- Bend your knees to make the pose more accessible or if you have lower back pain.
Standing Crescent Moon
- This helps stretch and release the muscles from your hip up to your neck.
- If you have trouble balancing on one leg, keep both feet firmly on the floor as you reach up and over, making a crescent from side to side.
- You’ll get more out of this if you really keep the “standing leg” super-strong and vertical.
Seated Lateral Neck Stretch
- This pose helps stretch — guess what — yep, your neck.
- Keep your elbow in line with your shoulder and keep your head lifted (don’t drop your chin).
- If sitting cross-legged on the floor isn’t an option for you, just sit in a chair and place both of your feet on the floor.
- This will help open your inner and outer hips, thighs, and hamstrings.
- Don’t jerk forward and backward in the pose; try to glide your hips forward and hold for a few breaths instead.
- If your knees bother you or you’ve had knee surgery, just put a blanket or pillow under the back knee.
Seated Revolved Butterfly
- Twists are great for undoing stress in your spine, wringing out your internal organs, and stretching your back muscles.
- Keep your buns firmly planted on the floor. Don’t let your pelvis turn, but instead spiral up from your tailbone.
- You can do the same pose sitting in a chair with both of your feet on the floor in front of you. Hold the side of the chair’s back with your right hand, keep your hips steady, and twist to the right. Repeat on the left.
Supine Cross-legged Pose
- This one’s great for releasing tension in your outer hips, where you have really large muscles that do a lot of work for you all day.
- To make this pose kinder and gentler, try it while resting your legs against the wall.
- This pose opens your chest and thighs.
- Gently push your feet and shoulders down to stabilize yourself as you let your hips and bottom release into a pillow or other support.
- If you have lower back pain, walk your feet a little farther away from your bottom and be careful how you stand up afterward.