The holidays are filled with amazing food with family and friends - foods we rarely eat any other time of year, foods that are rich, and we eat at times different from our regular eating schedule. This can bring on some unwanted and often unexpected digestive issues.
Today we are looking at bringing balance and comfort back to the digestive system as a whole to help your body process food better as a whole. This practice will focus on the meridians and organ systems directly related to processing food to bring bring relief. Whether it be indigestion, constipation, queasy stomach or just feeling a bit off in the digestion - try this practice to reset the system! Join me using the detailed practice guide below OR the video link
(http://bit.ly/YinYoga4DigestiveBalance). Feel better!
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Hold: 1-3 mins/side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. Try to keep your abdomen in the middle and not leaning over and both hips on the floor (use blanket if necessary). To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
1/2 Saddle Pose (Supta Ardha Virasana)
Hold: 2-6 minutes/side
Take a bolster and run it down the center of your body behind you. Sit on one heel with hips about a fist distance away from the bolster (or bed pillows). Take your thumbs and gently roll the calf muscles back (on the bent knee side) and outwards making way for you to sit down on the floor next to your heel (heel should be close to the hip and knee can rise from the floor or stay down, turn outwards slightly or foot can rotate outwards into flexed position - depending on your comfort). If this is too much, you can take bridge pose with hips on the bolster and upper body off (legs straight or bent knees). You can also place a block under your hips for less back pressure. Take your hands to your hips and gently lift them tucking the tailbone under slightly and lengthening the lower back. Begin to sit back and allow the bolster to support your entire upper body. Take hands up overhead and hold or rest hands along side the bolster. You can bend the straight knee and take the foot flat if that feels okay for you. This pose can bring up a lot of resistance so try to really breathe into the sensations and know that this pose won't last forever! To come out, take hands along side the bolster, tuck your chin to your chest and lift slowly up. Roll over to the straight leg side and unfold your leg. Take a 1 minute Downward Facing Dog to transition to the other side.
Sphynx Pose (lifted)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Come onto your belly (use folded blanket under the belly to place some soft pressure) and bring your elbows under your shoulders or slightly in front on top of a folded blanket or bolster, palms together with outside edge down. Feel your chest pulling forward and belly towards the floor. You can sink your chest between your shoulders OR keep lightly engaged to lighten the load on the back. If you want more, bend your knees to 90 degrees and/or drop your chin to your chest. Sense the area of your lower back and belly and breath into it. Release the tension in your belly area. To come out, slowly lower your head to the bolster and take your hands out to sides.
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Lift your head and take your elbows under your shoulders. Take your hands a little wider to sides of your mat. Turn your thumbs forward and fingers out and straighten your arms. If you need to come down lower, take your hands out further in front of you or bring them in closer. Focus on releasing the glutes and legs and allowing your chest to come forward. Keep shoulders soft and let them slide down your back. To come out, turn the elbows out and VERY SLOWLY lower down. Rest your head on the backs of your hands and rock the hips gently for 5-10 breaths.
Hold: 2-6 mins
Take arms wide - level with shoulders or bent elbows (more chest opening) and cross the right leg over the left - winding once or double wrap. Press through the foot and gently shift hips over to the right. Drop knees over to the left and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to take the knees over and if you feel you can, walk the left toes back behind you more for more twist. To come out, engage your core and bring legs back to center. Drop feet wide on the mat and let knees come together. Breathe here for 8 breaths and try second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the feet to slide out to the width of your mat, knees bend, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands to your belly. Drop your knees towards one another and allow your fingertips to gently massage the abdominal area in circles starting out at the edge and moving gently inwards. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Feel the softness in your belly and let it relax COMPLETELY.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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