You had the merriest of weekends. Except now your body doesn’t feel very merry. In fact, it feels sluggish, which is no surprise. The typical weekend or holiday combo of travel, late nights, parties, and big dinners can slow us down and throw our systems out of whack. Here is a quick sequence to get things moving and bring your body back into equilibrium. Finish up this series with an easy Savasana to restore your mind and spirit so you can get back along your merry way.
Sanskrit: Parsva Balasana
Benefits: Also called Twisting or Revolved Child’s pose, this restorative variation of the naturally calming Balasana promotes digestion while softly opening up the back body and shoulders.
How to: Start on all fours, or hands and knees. Extend your right arm up into the air and then sweep it underneath you, so the back of your right shoulder is grounded on the mat. Sit your hips back and soften your body onto your right arm, twisting from the navel. Push down into the mat with your left palm to get a deeper twist. Stay here for up to a minute. Repeat on the left side.
Sanskrit: Parivrtta Adho Mukha Svanasana
Benefits: This Down Dog twist essentially wrings out your internal organs while allowing you to work on your balance.
How to: Start in Downward-Facing Dog, with weight evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Reach your right hand underneath your torso and catch your outer left thigh, calf, or ankle. Twist your belly so you can gaze underneath your left arm. Stay here for 5–10 breaths, and switch hands to repeat on the left side.
Sanskrit: Viparita Virabhadrasana
Benefits: This standing pose builds lower-body stability and opens up the side-body channels, while strengthening the legs. It also stretches the hips, obliques, and groin.
How to: Start in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) with your right knee bent in front of you. Extend your right hand forward, and then reach it up and back toward the sky. Maintain the bend in your right knee so it stays stacked over your right ankle. Elongate the torso and continue lifting out of the hips to avoid compression. Stay here for five breaths and repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Anytime your legs are above your heart, you improve circulation by reversing gravity. Inversions also help to balance and increase our immunity by moving lymph throughout our bodies more easily.
How to: If you’re just starting a Headstand practice, set yourself up against a wall. Roll out your yoga mat and sit down on your knees. Place your palms on the mat underneath your shoulders. Then bend the elbows to place the crown of your head on the mat in front of your hands—so the head and hands form a triangle shape on your mat. Straighten your legs and slowly walk your feet closer to your hands. Place the right knee on the right tricep and the left knee on the left tricep, so you are balancing with your hips over your shoulders. Gently shift your weight forward and slowly bring the legs up toward the sky. Stay in Headstand for 5–10 breaths and slowly lower down the same way you came up. Rest in Child’s pose (Balasana) for a few breaths as a counterpose
Sanskrit: Supta Matsyendrasana
Benefits: This spinal twist calms the body, stretches the hips and glutes, and releases the lower back.
How to: Lie on your back with legs extended. Draw your right knee into your chest and, using your left hand, slowly drape the right knee across the left side of your body. Extend your right arm out to the right side of your mat, and shift your gaze to follow. Work on releasing your right knee to the mat. Stay here for 10 breaths, slowly return to center, and switch sides.