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Taking care of YOU this Festive Season

Taking care of YOU this Festive Season with 4 yin yoga postures to practice

I haven’t spoken to one person lately that hasn’t said ‘hasn’t this year flown!’. I can only agree and feel like it was just yesterday that we all said ‘Happy New Year, 2000′.

This year, why don’t you learn to say ‘no’ to a few events or outings that you know you could do without. I know that is hard to do. But this year I have made a conscious effort to weigh up my options and I have said no to more things. I just physically have been unable to be everywhere with everyone so have taken some time for myself and allowed myself to slow down. I have listened to my body and rested when I have needed to.

Welcome to Christmas 2013.

A time for….Over-commitment. Over-indulgence. Overwhelming times.

It is hard to say no to the Christmas parties, the delicious rich and heavy food and beverages. The fun and celebratory atmosphere. But where do we draw the line and recognise what we ‘can do’ and what pushes us ‘over the edge’?

I have created a small yin yoga practice sequence, designed to allow you to slow down and take time to stretch the muscles and relax the mind.

The ideal short practice before work or before bed. Or basically anytime at all.

Light your favourite candle. Put on some chilled out music. Close the door. Switch the phone OFF.

Yin yoga offers many benefits. Very different to the ‘yang’ form of flow yoga or fast moving sequences, yin yoga allows us the chance to be in the one position and release muscle tension from the deepest depth of the muscle. After sleep we often wake up tight and sometimes people don’t move from the one spot so need a decent stretch to just get moving each day. This might just be what you are looking for.

The aim is to be in the position for a decent length of time. Start by aiming to sit in the position for a minimum of 2/3 minutes and aim to work up to 5/6 minutes.

Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation, and I often talk students through the postures as if they were trying to meditate. While in a Yin class you might notice similar postures to a yang class except they are called something else, on a basic level this is to help the students mind shift form yang to yin, active to passive.

Position 1:
Pigeon Pose: from downward facing dog place your right knee to your right wrist and allow the hips to melt to the ground. Use a block or a telephone book or something sturdy to take the weight of your head or relax the head to the hands. Stay here for 10 breaths or use a timer on your phone to aim to stay here 2-3 minutes.
Return to downward facing dog and move to the left side, aiming to stay here 2-3 minutes.

Position 2:
Seated forward fold: sit up tall and move the fleshy part of your bottom away and outstretch your legs in front of you. Feet about hip width apart. Use a block for your head or maybe your forearms for a place to soften as you allow the body to fold forward. Stay here for 10 breaths or use a timer on your phone to aim to stay here 2-3 minutes.

Position 3:
Reclining hero pose: Once you have come up and out of your seated forward fold, stretch the legs out and give them a shake. Then bend your right knee and start to recline back. First start by keeping the hands on the ground, then as time passes and you become more comfortable recline deeper to your elbows/forearms then eventually recline your back to the ground. Remember that you should not have any pain in the back and the knee should press towards the floor.
Stay here for 10 breaths or use a timer on your phone to aim to stay here 2-3 minutes.
Repeat on the left side.

Position 4:
Frog Pose: Always the most unattractive position but the one that yields the most amount of benefits for people with a tight groin. This deep position also aids digestion and relieves cramps (both menstrual cramps and those from eating). My suggestion is to roll up your mat length wise (not width wise) and then fold the mat in half again so that you have plenty of support for your knees. If you are uncomfortable you will jump out of this too early and miss the benefits. Then open your knees as wide as you can and sink the bottom back so that the hips feel the stretch.
Stay here for 10 breaths or use a timer on your phone to aim to stay here 2-3 minutes.

Remember to start by aiming to stay in the position for a minimum of 2/3 minutes and aim to work up to 5/6 minutes.

Enjoy! I would love to hear your feedback on these posture suggestions – why not email me at skye@skyelifestyle.com.au

Enjoy this Festive Season and be kind to the most important person, yourself. xx

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