If you're hoping to stay in holiday mode and take things slow at the start of the year, then you will love these yin yoga poses to do at home. Here, yoga instructor Monica Aurora from Kaya Health Clubs shows us a slow sequence that promotes detoxification and creates a state of stillness within by focusing on a deep connection with breath. Get comfortable, and gather some pillows and blocks to support you.
POSE 1: Viparita Karani — Legs up the wall pose
Sit close to the wall and place a bolster under your hips. Extend your legs up the wall and place your arms out to the sides, palms up. This gentle inversion is a great way to reverse the flow of blood in the body and effectively flush the legs of any toxins. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply here.
Stay 5 minutes.
POSE 2: Marichyasana — Fish pose
Place the block just between your shoulder blades. Arms above your head, palms together, tail bone heavy, legs long. Here we use an ujjayi breath. The ujjayi is the foundation for most yoga practices. It is done by breathing in and out through the nose while constricting the back of the throat. In this pose, try to breathe deeply into the sides of the ribs for a slow count of five, matching the length of the exhalation to the length of the inhalation.
POSE 3: Anahatsana — Heart chakra pose
With the elbows bent and supported by blocks, palms in prayer. We are working to lengthen the muscles of the side waist as well as soften the shoulders, creating more space to breathe. Deep breathing is the best way to detoxify the body. Here we take the viloma breath, which is an incremental breath that expands the lung capacity. Each breath has a three part inhalation. Firstly, pull the breath into the belly, pause. Next, draw the breath into the mid chest, pause. Finally, breathe into the upper chest, pause for two counts, then exhale through the mouth. With every exhale feel the body softening, increasing the opening of the shoulders and increasing your lung capacity.
POSE 4: Uttanasana — Forward fold
Standing with your feet at hip width distance apart. With your hands on your hips, take a deep breath in, lengthen the spine, exhale and fold over the hips, releasing your hands from your hips and placing them on opposite elbows. Soften your knees so you can feel this stretch through your hamstrings, rather than the lower back.
Hold here for 3 minutes.
POSE 5: Detox Side Compression — Yin Style
NATURAL DEEP BREATH
Lay on your side and slot a bolster under your body between your hips and ribs. Reach you arms overhead and place your palms together. Stack your legs on top of the other and rest your bottom ear on your bicep. A pillow can be placed between your bottom ear and upper arm for extra support. The most important aspect of this pose is the deep and consistent breath that expands and contracts the ribs. This gentle posture increases blood flow to your organs of detoxification and can be a great way to lengthen the spine and release tension.
Hold both sides for 3-5 minutes.