From the moment you wake up you have Christmas wish lists to purchase, plum pudding to cook, gifts to wrap, decorations to display, festive cards to send, and holiday parties to attend.
What doesn't tend to make it onto the daily task list at this time of year, is your daily yoga practise.
To encourage you to wake up and get moving, or come home and keep moving, over the next three weeks I will share my favourite three 5-minute relaxing and rejuvenating yoga sequences that are ideal for this busy time of the year.
Here is your yoga flow for this week.
HOLIDAY YOGA FLOW
In a standing position, feet hip width apart, neutral pelvis, abdominal muscles engaged, and shoulders relaxed, interlace your hands behind your head, elbows out wide to the sides. Inhale, and slowly take your gaze to the sky, peeling open the chest, and feeling heat and energy in your upper back particularly between the shoulder blades. Exhale, and slowly, with control, guide your gaze towards the ground without pulling on your neck. Inhale your head back to centre and release your hands back down by your sides.
Inhale to reach the arms above, palms to touch. Exhale hands through heart centre as you hinge forward at the hips, straight spine and bending the knees, into a forward fold. Wrap your torso over your legs, as the navel comes to your thighs to support and protect your lower back. Inhale to Halfway Lift, straightening your arms and lifting your chest away from your thighs, slight bend in the knees, hands resting lightly on your shins, looking down to keep your neck in align with the rest of your spine and core strong. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, rolling up through the spine, vertebrae by vertebrae, head is the last thing to come up. A big shoulder roll at the top. Repeat two more times.
Inhale reach your arms above, palms connect, as you lift and lengthen through the spine. Exhale to extend up and over an imaginary beach ball behind you as you open the heart into a gentle backbend. Inhale arms back up to the sky. Exhale to swan dive the arms out wide and back down by your sides.
Bring your hands to your hips. Exhale, root down through your feet, and feel steadiness, firmness, and grounding. Shift your weight onto your right foot. Bend your left knee, and move it toward the chest. Keeping a long spine, reach down and clasp your left ankle. Place the sole of the left foot on the inner right thigh, on the inside of the calf, or rest your left heel on your right foot. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor to stand tall and bring your drishti, or gaze, to a spot on the horizon to help you balance. Square both hips to the front of the room, keeping your left knee moving out to the left to engage the hip opener. Firm your outer right thigh by contracting the quadriceps muscles, or the front of the thighs. Zip your belly in and your lower ribs together. Lift the chest and bring the shoulder blades down. Take 5–10 deep breaths, finding length on each inhale and rooting down with each exhale. Exhale and release the left leg back to Tadasana. Repeat on the other side.
And that's it! Just five minutes to boost your circulation, release tension from your shoulders, stretch your hamstrings, relieve your lower back, strengthen your muscles, and bring a moment of calm to the mind. Can you think of a better way to start or end the day? I can't.
Stay tuned for next week's Christmas yoga sequence.
Louise FitzRoy is the Principal of Activ Life, a leading health and wellness company based in the Cayman Islands. If you enjoyed this article you may also like: Yoga to relieve headaches and Stress less with this one mindful step.