Welcome back from the Thanksgiving holiday! I hope you were able to spend some precious time with your loved ones during this last week. No matter where your celebrations took you, it’s likely that there was an abundance of food served. Quick show of hands: who over-indulged in seconds from the dessert table? (Yes, I have both hands two *way* up in the air.) Need quick relief? Practicing some gentle yoga may help to relieve the symptoms of digestive upset. So put down the Tums, get up from your comfy spot on the couch, then read on for five simple poses to make your gut happier. Bonus: you can do these poses just about anywhere!
1. Knees-to-chest (Apanasana). Begin by lying on your back, with your feet planted on the ground and your knees bent, facing up to the sky. Inhale your hands up to rest on your knees, then exhale and, using your hands and your abdominal muscles, gently pull your knees in towards your chest. Hold this position for a few breaths, perhaps gently rocking side to side. (For a variation, you can also do one side at a time, alternating which knee you draw in to your chest.)
2. Spinal twist. With both knees still hugged in, gently drop your legs over to the right. Stretch your arms out into a T, then look up or over your left shoulder. Stay for a few breathes, then unwind and twist over to the other side.
3. Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana): Come to an upright seated position with your legs out in front of you. If your hamstrings are tight, sit up on a blanket to elevate your hips. Inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and begin to fold forward over your legs. Try to hinge your torso forward rather than bending down. Keep your toes pointed up to the sky, and develop the stretch slowly by going a little farther with every exhale.
4. Child’s pose (Balasana): Sit up onto your shins, with your knees spread wide and your toes tucked under. Begin to lower your torso between your knees, stretching your spine and arms forward until your forehead touches the floor. (If this is uncomfortable, place a rolled blanket between the thigh and shin, or rest your forehead on a block.) Breathe deeply, expanding your belly down between your thighs.
5. Puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana): Begin on hands and knees, in a tabletop pose. Keeping your hips where they are, begin to walk the hands forward, lowering your chest between your arms until your forehead or chin rests on the floor. Feel a stretch through the entire belly.
Just ten or fifteen minutes of gentle stretching will begin to ease discomfort and energize the body. Still feeling sluggish? Radiance Yoga is offering its full schedule all weekend long, so bundle up and come visit our bright, warm studio for a 75-minute pick me up! We can’t wait to see you on the mat!
[Images credit: (1) http://www.zdravakrava.hr/clanak/3073/jogom-do-zdrave-kraljeznice-i-mirnog-uma, (2) http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/photo-gallery/35428960/image/35429164/Seated-Forward-Bend, (3) http://www.curejoy.com/content/5-easy-yoga-poses-for-stress-relief/]