Whether it’s a running sesh, a yoga class or simply playing with your kids – here’s the latest news and views on how to move more this month
It’s easy to overeat during the festivities, particularly if you find this time of year stressful. This can result in digestive sluggishness, mood swings, low energy and tiredness. However, there’s no need to abstain from everything – simply avoid overfilling your plate or having too much alcohol and fizzy drinks. The key is to eat and drink in moderation and enjoy the event consciously. If you have had a few too many mince pies (no judgement here), try these yoga moves to soothe your tum.
Apasana / Knees to chest pose
1. Lie on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms by your side.
2. Exhale and bring your knees up towards your chest. Relax your shoulders downwards and stretch your collar bone. Hold the pose for a few minutes until your breathing is completely settled. Exhale, release your arms and legs, stretch out and relax. Repeat six times.
Malasana / Garland pose
1. Stand with your arms by your sides in mountain pose. Bend your knees and lower your hips like a squat. Separate your thighs, but keep your feet as close together as possible. Bring your torso slightly forward and your upper arms to the inside of your knees.
2. Press your elbows to the insides of your knees and place your hands together in a prayer position (this is called Anjali Mudra). Aim to get your hands to your heart and your forearms parallel to the floor. Lift and lengthen your torso, keeping your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Hold the pose for five breaths.
3. To release, bring your fingertips to the floor and slowly straighten your legs into a standing position, then raise your torso up straight.
Supta matsyendrasana / Supine twist
1. Lie on your back, with your arms out to the sides and your palms facing down. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on your left knee.
2 Exhale and take your right knee over to the left side of your body, twisting your spine and lower back. Look at the finger tips of your right hand. Keep your shoulders flat to the floor, close your eyes, and relax into the pose. Let gravity pull your knee down, so you don’t have to use any effort in this pose. Breathe and hold for six to 10 breaths.
3. To release, inhale and roll your hips back to the floor, then exhale as you bring your leg back down. Repeat on the other side.
Sasangasana/ Rabbit pose
1. Kneel down and sit on your heels. Exhale and grab your heels with the back of your hands facing outwards, your thumbs outside and your fingers inside.
2. Engage your core and bend forward, placing the top of your head on the ground towards your knees, so that your forehead is touching them. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Roll onto the crown of your head and press your forehead as close to your knees as possible. Breathe and hold for four to eight breaths.
3. To release, slowly exhale, lower your hips to your heels and return to a kneeling position.
Balasana/ Child’s pose
1. Kneel down and sit on your heels. Your knees can be together or apart – whatever is more comfortable. Slowly bend forward as you exhale, lowering your forehead to the floor. Keep your arms by your sides, with your palms facing up. Alternatively, you can stretch your arms in front of you with your palms facing down.
2. Gently press your chest on your thighs (or between your thighs if your legs are apart). Hold the pose for up to a minute, until your breathing is calm. Relax your body on an exhalation and then repeat several times.
3. Place your palms under your shoulders and gradually raise your upper body to return to the sitting position on your heels, while inhaling. Do this very slowly as if uncurling the spine. Relax.
Shavasana relaxation pose
1. Lie on your back, with your legs and arms stretched out and relaxed. Release all your muscles and breathe gently and normally.
2. Close your eyes and stay in this position for at least five minutes to calm your brain and relax your body.
Viparita karani / Legs up the wall pose
1. Choose a space near to a wall and sit with your legs stretched out in front of you, with the right side of your body touching the wall. Exhale, lie on your back and swing round so that you can place the backs of your legs against the wall. The soles of your feet should face upwards and your bottom should be near, or touching, the wall. Your back and head should be resting on the floor and your body should be at a 90-degree angle to the wall.
2. Lift your hips and slide a prop, such as a cushion or folded blanket, underneath them. Alternatively, use your hands to support your hips and lift them off the floor. Close your eyes and breathe, holding the pose for a few minutes. Release and roll to the side. Breathe and then sit up.
Utkatasana / Chair pose
1. Stand with your feet apart. Stretch your arms forward, ensuring that your palms are facing downwards, and keep your arms and elbows straight.
2. Gently bend your knees and push down your pelvis as if you were to sit on an imaginary chair. Make yourself comfortable and be aware of your body and breathing as you hold the pose. Keep your spine lengthened, calm your mind and relax. Hold the pose for up to a minute.
Quick energy boosting exercise
1. Exhale strongly through your nostrils in order to empty your lungs of air. Then, move your stomach in and out. Do this several times and then inhale.
2. Repeat this three to five times. If you find it difficult or uncomfortable to hold your breath, you can start by doing the exercise while still breathing normally.
Swami Purohit (Swamiji)
Swamiji is a yoga and meditation expert with over 40 years’ experience in meditation, hatha yoga and mantra. He guides groups in Spain, Belgium, France and soon in the UK, helping them transform their vision into action by practising yoga and meditation. Stay up-to-date at swamipurohit.com/en