A Flow to Detox the Holiday Stress (in less than 10 minutes!)
With the Holidays coming up, it's not just the change in weather that causes us to be more susceptible to colds. When we are stressed, our adrenal glands secrete cortisol, a hormone that overtime suppresses our immune system and causes inflammation throughout our body. Taking as little as 10 minutes out of your day can help detox your body of stress and allow you to breeze through the Holidays, one ugly sweater party at a time.
Mountain Pose Mindfulness
1. Start standing with your feet hip-width distance apart. Spin your palms to face forward opening up your shoulders and chest. Gently close your eyes. Take a deep inhale, followed by a releasing exhale out the mouth. Do a couple more rounds of this clearing breath to let go of any thoughts or to-do lists. There is nothing you need to do right now.
Standing Side-Body Stretch
2. When you're ready to move, inhale your arms up and overhead, grasping your right wrist with your left hand and lean to the left stretching your right side body. Breathe into between your ribs as you lengthen. Feel both feet rooted evenly into the earth. Inhale back to center. Switch the grasp of your hands. Left wrist in right hand, lean to the right stretching your left side body. Take a few breaths as you extend further to the right. Inhale back to center, releasing your arms by your side as you reach your chest forward and down into a forward fold.
Open Hearted Lunge
3. Step your right foot back coming into a low lunge. Option to lift the back knee or keep it on the ground for added support. Plant your right hand on the earth as you inhale your left arm to rise, opening up your chest to the left. Feel the expansion of your upper body as you allow your heart to open up towards the sky. Take a few breaths here. On an exhale release your left hand to frame your front foot.
Flowing Fallen Warrior
4. Squaring your hips and chest forward, inhale to rise. Tucking your tailbone under to elongate your spine, arms reaching up and overhead. Release your arms by your sides, and clasp your hands finger over finger behind your lower back. Inhale reach your hands closer to earth behind you as you extend your heart upward. Keeping your hands clasped, exhale fold forward nestling the outer edge of your left shoulder to your inner left thigh. Keeping your shoulders down your back and away from your ears, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Inhale allow your hands to pull you back and up expanding your chest toward the sky once again. Flow through this a few times to the rhythm of your breath. Exhale to fold. Inhale to rise. When you've come back to the top of your last inhale, release the clasp of your hands, and exhale plant your palms against the earth framing your front foot once again. Step your right foot forward coming into a forward fold.
5. Repeat Steps 3 & 4, stepping your left foot back this time.
Half Pigeon Pose
6. From a forward fold, your choice is to step back into Downward Facing Dog, or flow through a vinyasa if it is in your practice. From Down Dog, inhale the right foot to rise. Exhale bring your right knee to behind your right wrist, and right ankle behind your left wrist any amount. Left leg is extended directly behind your left hip. If your hips are level against the earth, start to settle in. If one hip is higher than the other, place a blanket (or rolled up sweatshirt) underneath your right hip. Fingertips pressing the earth away on either side of your hips, inhale to lift your heart. Exhale start to crawl your fingertips forward any amount. Maybe coming onto your forearms, or allowing your chest to melt over your right thigh. Take 10 deep, and mindful breaths as you send soothing energy to any tension right hip. To release, place your hands under your shoulders and return into three-legged dog, right leg extended back and behind, before coming back into your Downward Facing Dog.
7. Repeat second side. Inhale left leg back.
8. From Downward Facing Dog, come down onto your knees and make your way to your back. Hug your knees into your chest, rocking side to side massaging your lower back. When you're ready, gently allow your knees to fall to the right as you extend your arms out like a "T." Gaze can go to the left as you enter into a supine twist. Again, taking 10 deep, and mindful breaths allowing the twist to wring out anything that doesn't serve you. Allowing yourself to massage your organs and detox any waste. Inhale back to center, knees in toward your chest.
9. Repeat second side. Gently dropping your knees to the left, gaze is towards the right.
10. Squeeze your knees tightly in towards your chest as you inhale. Exhale release your legs extended in front of you, feet flop open. Arms come loosely by your sides, palms face up. Allow your entire body, face, and jaw to completely surrender and relax. Close your eyes, and give yourself this time to be here now. Take as long as you'd like here. Slowly, and mindfully, awaken yourself out of the pose and carry on with your day.
Happy Holidays, my friends! You are now ready to tackle anything that comes your way with ease.