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Nicola Jane Hobbs
Founder of MindMuscle Yoga
Why Christmas Yoga? Advent Calendar Benefits of Yoga About Me
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1st… Cat and Cow 2nd… Crocodile 6 3rd… Up Dog 4th… Down Dog 6th… Sun Salutation 7th… Chair 8th… Triangles 9th… Half Moon Flow 11 7
8 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 20
5th… Standing Forward Bends
10th… Wide Leg Forward Bends 11th… Nose/Naval to Knee 12th… Yoga Hands 13th… Dragon 14th… Crane 16th… Reverse Plank 18th… Pigeon 19th… Camel 20th… Butterfly 21st… Bridge 23rd… Fish 24th… Banana 25 26 28 29 27 22nd… Shoulderstand 22 23 24
15th… Seated Forward Bend
17th… Seated Wide Leg Forward Bend and Balance
25th… Christmas Corpse
Why Christmas Yoga? Christmas is a time for unity, for bonding and celebrating and rejoicing. And so is yoga. Yoga literally translates as ‘yolk’ or ‘unity’. It integrates the body and mind, allowing you to challenge self-imposed limitations and reach your physical and psychological potential. It brings together office workers, and teenagers, athletes and dieters, celebrities and students. It breaks down barriers both between people and within yourself. Whether your aim is weight loss, stress reduction, improved athletic performance, or just to find more balance in your life, yoga is a wonderful tool for transformation. Yoga is simple and powerful. It is all about you. Whatever you put into yoga, you get out of it. If you practise with strength, you become strong. If you practise with focus, you become focused. And if you practise with happiness, and liberation, and love, you will become happy, and liberated and full of love. Advent Calendar: 25 days of Strength, Stretch and Happiness You can never outgrow the childish joy of an Advent Calendar, but as delightful as chocolate is, yoga can provide benefits that no amount of cocoa can. Some people are put off yoga because they imagine you have to be either a leotard cladded yummy mummy who can bend themselves into the shape of a pretzel, or a cross legged monk devoted to silence. So this Christmas Yoga Advent Calendar challenges the stereotypes and makes it simple. Every day you get introduced to a new pose that will take no longer than 10 minutes to do. There is nothing spiritual, no fancy yoga language and no set rules. This is 21st century yoga designed for the modern worker/athlete/parent/sports person/human being. Just one pose a day. That’s it!
Benefits of Yoga
Physical: Strength, flexibility, endurance, improved posture, better breathing, weight loss… the list is endless. Yoga helps us to create a lean, powerful, athletic body. It shows us that we have the power to become fit and healthy and to sculpt our body into whatever shape we want. Whether it be strength gains, being more flexible or aesthetic improvements, by doing just one pose a day for a month, you will notice changes in how your body looks and feels.
Psychological: Calm, connected and confident are the three psychological Cs of yoga. Yoga helps us to see that we can continually re-create ourselves each day, putting us in the driving seat of our life. It helps us to focus, to stay optimistic and to become tuned in to what is going on around us. Emotional: When we are tired or stressed or feeling down, yoga brings us back to the present moment, helps us focus on what we have in our lives to be grateful for and reminds us that nothing is permanent. We may feel rough now, but tomorrow is a new opportunity to experience the happiness and pleasure we deserve. Connection: Yoga unites us with ourselves and with the world. It is an approach to health which promotes wholeness. It integrates the body and the mind and encourages us to connect with others. Whether you do yoga with your friends and family, with colleagues, with your sport team, or with total strangers, yoga is a tool that brings people together.
Yoga has been a wonderful tool for transformation in my life on a physical, psychological, academic and career level. So this Christmas Yoga Advent Calendar is a way to share the power of yoga with others. I know many people are intimidated at the thought of attending a yoga class and being the only beginner/man/unfit person, so an ebook seemed the ideal way to spread the yoga love. I have tried to keep things as simple as possible, taking poses from traditional styles of yoga such as Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga, and mixing it up with what I have learnt from weightlifting and my work as a Trainee Sport Psychologist. I have seen many of my students blossom with the help of yoga – overcoming barriers, challenging limitations, and becoming stronger than they ever thought possible. So now is your chance… Give yourself 10 minutes a day for 25 days to explore the poses in this ebook and feel yourself grow stronger, become freer and discover the true potential within you. To find out more about yoga and sport psychology and how it can help you to become strong, free and beautiful, please see my personal website www.NicolaJaneHobbs.com or my company website www.MindMuscleYoga.com. To get in touch feel free to email me on Nicola@MindMuscleYoga.com or tweet me @NicolaJaneHobbs. Merry Christmas!! Namaste (aka. be well),
Cat and Cow
~ If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed ~
Cat and Cow poses warm up the spine and stimulate the belly organs. They are great stress busters, teaching you to synchronise your movement to your breath.
Table Top Come onto all fours, aligning your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips so your spine is straight and neutral. Breathe here for five long deep breaths.
Cow As you inhale dish your back, drawing your shoulder blades together and lift your head.
Cat As you exhale round your back, broaden your shoulder blades and drop your head. Repeat your Cats and Cows for five to ten breaths, moving in time with your breathing. 5
~ Concentrate on building strength and leave any weakness to wither ~
Crocodile pose strengthens the core, shoulders, arms and wrists, and tones the belly. It is challenging, but, once mastered, shows us that we can become stronger than we ever thought possible. Plank From Table Top pose straighten your legs out behind you. Broaden your shoulder blades, strengthen your core, squeeze your buttocks, engage your thighs and push your weight back through your heels. Begin holding for five to ten breaths and build up until you can hold the pose for two minutes. If you are struggling then you can bring your knees to the floor or come down onto your forearms. Crocodile From Plank, as you exhale, bend your elbows into your side and lower yourself until your chest is hovering just above the ground. Hold for five breaths and then lower yourself to the floor. To begin with, it’s easier to bring your knees to the ground before bending your arms until you build up strength.
~ Dare to be open-hearted and courageous and others will follow ~
Baby Cobra and Up Dog are beautiful poses for improving posture. They help to reduce fatigue and depression through stretching the shoulders, lungs and belly, and opening the chest and heart. Baby Cobra Lie face down on the floor with your forearms either side of your head. As you inhale lift your torso and hold for 15 to 30 seconds, releasing back down to the floor as you exhale. If this feels ok, lift your hands off the floor once you’re in baby cobra and try and use the strength of your core and lower back to lift your torso a bit higher on each inhale. Up Dog Lie face down with Your hands by your waist. As you inhale press your hands into the floor, lifting your torso and straightening your arms. Press the tops of your feet into the ground so your thighs are no longer in contact with the floor. Draw your tailbone towards your pubic bone, and your pubic bone towards your naval, keeping your thighs and buttocks firm. Push the floor away from you through your hands, keeping your neck long and your chest and heart open. Hold for 15-30 seconds. 7
~ Loyalty, acceptance and unconditional love… dogs are great role models to live by. ~
Down Dog is one of the most well-known poses in yoga. It stretches and strengthens the shoulders and legs, and opens the hamstrings and calves. It can be challenging on the shoulders to begin with but as you get stronger, it becomes a position of rest, energising the body and calming the mind.
Down Dog Begin in Table Top pose and hook your toes under. Take a deep inhalation and, as you exhale, straighten your legs, pushing your sit bones to the sky. As you inhale lengthen your spine, and as you exhale release your heels towards the floor. Engage your abdominal lock by drawing your naval to your spine and your abdomen up and into your rib cage. Broaden your shoulder blades and allow your head to hang loosely. Hold for one to three minutes. If your wrists hurt then come down onto your forearms.
Standing Forward Bends
~ When the harsh winds of life come blowing, bend with them. By bending, you will not break. By bending you will become stronger. ~
Forward Bends are great for stretching the hamstrings and calves and soothing the mind. Standing Forward Bends Begin standing with your feet parallel, hip distance apart. As you inhale raise your hands above your head and as you exhale fold forwards, taking hold of your shins, or ankles or, if you can reach, gripping your big toes with your forefingers. Inhale and lengthen your spine, looking to the front and engaging your abdominal lock. As you exhale fold forwards, maintaining the length in your spine. Look towards your toes or between your legs. On every inhale think about lengthening and on every exhale try and release deeper into the pose, pulling up on your knee caps to release your hamstrings. Hold for five to 10 breaths, release your toes, bring your hands to your hips, and come up to standing on an inhalation. To advance the posture, place your hands beneath your feet, treading on your palms with your toes in your wrist joint. Try shifting the weight between the heels and balls of your feet, noticing where you feel the stretch.
~ Make your own sunshine. ~
The Sun Salutation is a traditional warm up for yoga. It combines forwards bends, up dog, down dog, plank and crocodile pose. Try and move with your breath, repeating the flow five to 10 times. This creates heat in the body, strength in the arms, legs and core, increases range of motion and prepares the body and mind for exercise. Inhale
~ Just like the muscles, courage, determination and willpower are all strengthened with use. ~
Chair pose encourages you to reach high, even when you are forced down. It strengthens the thighs and shoulders, works the core muscles and stimulates the abdominal organs, heart and lungs. When you feel like coming out the pose, hold it for a couple of breaths longer – you will be surprised at how strong you really are.
Chair Standing with your feet together, inhale and bend your knees, drop your hips and swing your arms up above your head, palms together in prayer position – you can also have your hands apart if this is more comfortable. Squeeze your knees together, have a look down and make sure you can see your toes, and push your sit bones towards the back of the room, keeping your spine long and chest up. Breathe deeply into the back of your ribcage, firming the thighs and dropping your hips until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Try and hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. To come out of it, inhale as you straighten your legs and exhale as you release your arms. 11
~ The triangle of life consists of three complementary elements: love, power and danger. Remove any of these, and the triangle falls apart. ~
Triangle poses are great for stretching the legs and hips, strengthening the core and improving balance. They also help to open the chest and improve breathing. Extended Triangle Stand with your feet about one metre apart, rotating your right foot 90 degrees and turning your left foot in slightly. Spread your arms parallel to the floor. As you inhale reach across to your right, bending from the hip not the waist, and as you exhale bring your right hand down to your shin, ankle or foot, and left arm up to the sky. Stay here for 30 to 60 seconds and come up on an inhale. Reverse your feet and repeat on the left side. Revolved Triangle Start in the same position as for Extended Triangle with arms parallel to floor, but this time rotate your hips and torso to the right. So you’re facing over the right leg. As you exhale bring your left hand down to the outside edge of your right foot, and right hand up to the sky. Try and keep your hips even, pushing into the outer edge of the back foot to help you balance. Hold this pose for up to a minute, come up on an inhale and repeat on the other side. 12
Half Moon Flow
~ Be conscious of your potential to cast a shadow. You are stronger than you think and more inspiring than you know. ~
The Half Moon Flow is great to do first thing in the morning. It energises the body, increases flexibility in the spine, strengthens the core and corrects posture.
Half Moon Flow Start with your feet together, lengthening up from your tailbone to the tip of your head. As you inhale, raise your arms and join your hands in prayer position above you. Exhale and lean back, arching your spine, engaging your core and keeping your focus on your thumbs. Hold for five breaths and come back to standing on an inhalation. On your next exhale, lean over to the right, aiming to get your torso parallel with the floor. Try to keep your elbows glued to your ears and chest open to the sky. Hold for five breaths and come back to centre on an inhale. As you exhale, lean to your left and repeat for five breaths. Inhale and come back to centre, and exhale and release your arms. Aim to do this five to ten times, moving with your breath. 13
Wide Leg Forward Bends
~ Stretch your body, expand your heart, extend your love. ~
Wide Leg Forward Bends are great for lengthening and strengthening the muscles of the inner thighs and backs of the leg. And they can help relieve fatigue, headaches and depression.
Wide Leg Forward Bends Step or jump your feet apart so they are about 1m apart, or so your ankles are below your wrists when you outstretch your arms. Make sure your feet are parallel, bring your hands to your hips, inhale and lengthen through your spine. As you exhale, fold forwards bringing your hands down so your fingers are in line with your toes, aiming to get the crown of your head on the floor. On every inhalation lengthen your spine, keeping your core strong and as you exhale deepen the pose. Hold for up to 60 seconds and then bring your hands to your hips and come up on an inhale. Repeat the pose but this time interlock your fingers behind your back and bring them up and over your head as you exhale and fold forwards. Repeat a final time, this time taking hold of your big toes. 14
Nose /Naval To Knee
~ Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go. ~
There are two ways of doing this pose. – you either aim to get your naval onto your knee, keeping the spine long, or you allow the spine to round, bringing your nose to your knee. Have a play around and see which feels good for your body. Nose To Knee Begin with your feet together, long spine, strong core. Inhale and bend your right knee, taking hold of either side of your right foot with both hands or interlocking your fingers beneath it. As you exhale, extend the leg out in front of you so that it is parallel to the ground. Fold forwards over your outstretched leg, rounding your spine, dropping your elbows and aiming to get your head on your knee. Draw your naval to your spine and your abdomen up and into your rib cag to keep your core strong and back protected. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and release to standing. Repeat on the left leg. Naval to Knee Pose Follow the instructions above but this time keep your spine long, lengthening your back on each inhalation and stretching your head towards your toes on every exhale. 15
~ Risk taking your life in your own hands and you will discover that you hold the potential for greatness ~
By focusing on the larger muscle groups, we often fail to use our hands to their full capacity. This can result is reduced strength in the wrist and impaired range of motion, which can impact on everything from being comfortable in arm balances, to lifting weights, to typing on a computer.
Reverse Prayer As you inhale spread your arms wide and as you exhale bend your arms, sweeping them downwards and behind your back. Touch the fingertips of each hand, gradually joining palms so your fingertips are pointing upwards, pushing your thumbs together. If you struggle to get palms together then begin by clasping your forearms or wrists. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Cow Face Arms Sweep you right hand behind your back so it is resting between your shoulder blades, palm facing outwards. Lengthen your left arm to the sky and bend it behind your head, hooking the fingertips of the right hand. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the reverse arm. If you can’t reach your other hand, use a rope and gradually shorten the distance between your hands. Seagull Hands Stretch both arms to the side and bend your elbows so the backs of your hands are under your armpits. Hold for 30-60 seconds and release. 16
~ In challenging the limits of what we think is possible, we slay dragons we think could never be beaten. ~
Dragon pose provides a great opportunity to explore your edge and push your boundaries. It is best performed as passive pose which allows your muscles, ligaments and tendons to lengthen and strengthen, increasing range of motion and reducing risk of injury.
Dragon Start in Down Dog and step your right foot between your hands. Inhale and lengthen your hands to the sky, dropping your back knee to the floor. As you exhale place both hands on the inside of your right foot. Stay up on your hands or go down onto your forearms. Try and work at your edge – the place just outside your comfort zone where you can feel the stretch challenging you. After 60 seconds in the pose try and ‘play your edge’, going deeper into the pose as your body opens and your connective tissues lengthen. Really tune into your breath, channelling it into areas of tension, and on every exhale try and let go of this stress, consciously relaxing the muscles where you feel discomfort and tightness. Start by spending 60-90 seconds in Dragon, building it up to three minutes. Really challenge yourself to remain the posture longer than you think you can – the pose truly begins the moment you want to leave it. To exit, slowly move your right leg back and push up to Down Dog 17 before repeating on the left leg.
~ Inside us all, patiently waiting, sits an adventurous little bird getting ready to sing, to fly, to soar. ~
All arm balances are great for building strength in the wrists and arms. Crane helps to develop core strength, toning the belly and stretching the back. Balance and focus are also enhanced as the body’s centre of gravity is shifted and the mind has to adjust.
Crane From standing, bend your knees to a squat, placing your hands shoulder width apart on the floor in front of you, elbows bent. Keeping your feet together, separate your knees and lean your upper body between your thighs, aiming to position your knees in your armpits rather than resting them on your upper arms. Once you feel confident, play around with shifting your weight forwards, lifting one foot off the floor at a time until you are ready to lift both feet. Keep your back rounded, with your knees perched on your bent arms, or, if you feel steady, try straightening your arms, keeping your core strong. Find a point on the floor in front of you to focus on and hold for 20-60 seconds, releasing back to the ground on an exhale. 18
Seated Forward Bend
~ Never be afraid to just sit and think awhile. In those moments of stillness you will find the power to chase your dreams. ~
Like the Standing Forward Bend, the Seated Forward Bend stretches the hamstrings shoulders and spine. It stimulates the abdominal organs, aiding digestion and also helps to calm the brain and relieve stress and depression. Sitting Strong Before coming into your Forward Bend, take the time to sit strong. Find the front of your sit bones, removing any excess flesh from your buttocks, pull up on your knee caps and pull your feet back. Lengthen from your tailbone to the tip of your head, placing your hands either side of your hips, keeping your chest open and shoulders relaxed. This will teach your body proper posture. Stay here for 30-60 seconds. Seated Forward Bend As you inhale lengthen your arms to the sky, drawing naval to spine. Exhale and fold forwards, bringing your hands to shins, or ankles, or taking hold of your toes or feet. On every inhalation lengthen your spine, and as you exhale fold further into the pose. Look to your toes or towards your shins if you’re far enough down. Hold for 30-60 seconds and release. 19
~ The most delightful surprise in life is to discover the core of strength within you that will survive all hurt. ~
Reverse Plank is one of the best poses for developing strength. It works the core, legs, buttocks, shoulders, arms and wrists, and stretches from the chest all the way to the ankles.
Reverse Table Top Begin by Sitting Strong, reach your fingertips back 20cm behind you, and bend your knees so your feet are just in front of your sit bones. On an inhale lift your hips, keeping your thighs parallel, squeezing your buttocks and drawing your shoulder blades together. As you exhale let your head hang back. Hold for 30-60 seconds and come back to Sitting Strong on an exhale.
Reverse Plank Begin by Sitting Strong, placing your fingertips 20cm behind you, pointing your toes and slightly inwardly rotating your upper thighs. Inhale as you lift your hips and exhale as you let your head hang back. Try lifting your hips on every inhalation, keeping a strong core and pushing the floor away from you through your hands. Hold for 30-60 seconds and come down on an exhale. 20
Seated Wide Leg Forward Bend and Balance
~ Balance passion with peace, excitement with serenity, and strength with gentleness. ~
The Bend and Balance poses combine the fine arts of strength, flexibility and focus. As well as stretching the groins and inner thighs, they work the core, stretch the shoulders and open the chest
Seated Wide Leg Forward Bend Start in Sitting Strong, on the front of your sit bones and spread your legs to a wide straddle. Inhale and lengthen your arms to the sky, engaging your abdominal lock, and as you exhale, reach forward, taking hold of your shins, ankles or toes. On every inhalation lift your head and lengthen your spine and as you exhale release deeper into the pose. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Seated Wide Leg Balance From your Wide Leg Forward Bend, keeping hold of your toes, inhale and use your core strength to jerk your torso up to seated, bringing your toes with you. If you find this challenging you can always bend your knees, find your balance in an upright position and then straighten your legs. Keep your shoulders pulled back and chest open. Hold for 30-60 seconds and release on an exhale. 21
~ Choose to relax, let go, and let life happen. ~
Pigeon pose is great to do as a passive stretch, holding it for up to three minutes to release tightness in the muscles and connective tissues. Try and consciously relax the muscles in the groin, thighs and hip flexors for maximum benefit.
Pigeon Begin in Table Top pose and bring your right knee up to meet your right wrist and wiggle your right toes up towards our left wrist. Keeping your hips as even as you can, on an exhale slide the left leg back, sinking the front of your left thigh to the ground. Your right foot will automatically move back towards your left hip. Try and find your edge, working the pose so you can feel the stretch opening your hip flexors and releasing your buttock muscles. Either stay upright or fold forward over the front leg into Sleeping Pigeon. Hold the pose for one to three minutes and slowly move back to Table Top before repeating on the left leg.
~ Like a camel proud of its humps, embrace the strength, power and beauty of your unique body. ~
Leaning backwards may seem scary to start with, but have faith in your body. Camel pose is wonderful for stretching the entire front of the body, from neck to shoulders to thighs. It strengthens the back and is great for improving posture.
Camel Begin kneeling with your thighs parallel and your knees directly below your hips. Imagine drawing your pubic bone towards your sternum to keep your outer hips soft. Rest your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing down, and inhale, pulling your shoulder blades together. As you exhale lean back, bringing your hands to your heels or ankles. You can always tuck your toes under if you can’t reach your heels with the tops of your feet on the floor. Try and keep your hips above your knees without compressing your lower back. Let you head hang back and remain in the pose for 30-60 seconds. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your lower back and use your core strength to bring your torso back to vertical. 23
~ Do not be afraid of change, for in order to become a butterfly, one must be willing to give up being a caterpillar. ~
Butterfly pose is another beautiful passive posture which is ideal if you have tight hip flexors, hamstrings, groin or inner thighs. We tend to carry a lot of tension in our hips so staying in the pose can be challenging but it teaches you how to deal with discomfort and push your limits.
Butterfly Begin in a seated straddle position and bend your knees to bring the soles of your feet together about 30cm in front of your groin. Take hold of your feet and as you exhale fold forwards, allowing your spine to round and your head to hang. Butterfly is a passive stretch so try and work at your edge, just outside of your comfort zone. Channel your inhalations into any areas of tensions, and as you exhale try and let it go, consciously relaxing the muscles. After one minute in the pose, play your edge a little bit, melting deeper into the pose. Hold the pose for two to three minutes. To exit, slowly role up to seated, bringing your head up last and gradually release your legs out in front of you. 24
~ You are the architect of your life. Knock down the walls that obstruct your dreams and build bridges to help you reach them. ~
The Bridge, like all backbends, is great for relieving stress. It opens the spine, chest and neck as well as building strength in the shoulders and core and relieving tired legs. Baby Bridge Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels just in front of your sit bones. Imagine drawing your pubic bone to your sternum to tilt the top of your pelvis backwards. As you inhale lift your hips, drawing your shoulder blades together, keeping thighs parallel. To increase the arch in your spine, bring your hands under your lower back, drawing your chest to your chin. Hold for 30-60 seconds and release slowly. Bridge Begin as for Baby Bridge, bending your arms up and over your head so your hands are under your shoulders, palms on the floor. As you inhale push the weight into your hands and feet and lift your hips, straightening your legs and arms. Hold for 5-30 seconds, slowly lowering yourself on an exhale. As your body opens and you become more confident, try lifting your leg and coming down onto your forearms. 25
~ See your life form a new perspective. Sometimes it’s necessary to look at the world upside down in order to see things right. ~
Being upside down helps to calm the mind and relieve stress and fatigue. Shoulderstand also helps to stretch the neck and shoulders, tone the belly and buttocks, and stimulate the thyroid gland. Passive Shoulderstand Start by lying on your back, hands by your side and raise your legs, bringing soles to ceiling. You can do this with your legs against a wall for more support. This gives all the benefits of full Shoulderstand without putting any pressure on the neck. Hang out here for up to 15 minutes for optimal relaxation. Shoulderstand Begin lying on your back and swing your legs up and over your head with your knees resting on your forehead. Bring your hands to your lower back, fingers pointed towards the ceiling and straighten your legs, toes to the sky. Keep your core strong and legs working, aiming to bring toes over Knees, knees over hips and hips over shoulders. Begin holding for 30 seconds and build up to three minutes. Continue into Plough pose by bringing your toes over your head and interlocking your fingers. And then continue to Ear Pressure Pose by bending your knees either side of your temples. Hold each pose for 30-60 seconds, bring your hands to your lower back and roll down slowly. 26
~ Be like a salmon… never be afraid to swim upstream. ~
Fish pose stretches everything from the throat to the intercostal muscles, to the belly and the hip flexors. It strengthens the muscles of the lower back and improves posture.
Fish Begin lying on your back, propped up on your forearms, and slide your hands under your buttocks. As you inhale draw your shoulder blades together and open your chest, and as you exhale allow your head to hang back. Increase the stretch by bringing the crown of your head to the floor. If you feel ok here then try lifting your legs using your core strength releasing your hands from under your buttocks and raising your arms above your chest with your hands in prayer position. Stay here for 15-30 seconds. Bring your legs and arms back to the ground if you’re in the full pose, inhale and look to your toes, and as you exhale release to the ground, gently hugging your knees into your chest. 27
~ Life is infinitely more beautiful once we peel away the layers of self-protection and insecurity and reveal our true selves. ~
Banana is a passive posture which works the spine in lateral flexion. It is a great stretch for the IT bands, the obliques, the intercostal muscles and the armpit. The longer you hold the pose, the more you allow your banana to ripen, releasing tension and lengthening muscles, ligaments and tendons to increase flexibility.
Banana Lay on your back with your legs straight and arms by your side. Reach your arms overhead and clasp the opposite elbow. Keeping both buttocks on the floor, shift your feet and upper body to the right until you feel a stretch down your left side – this is your edge. Remain in the pose for two to three minutes, playing your edge by moving your feet and upper body further to the right as your muscles lengthen and your body releases tension. To come out of the pose, simply bring your feet and upper body back in line with your hips and repeat on the other side.
~ Let go and trust life. Relax. Refresh. Renew. ~
It may look easy but Corpse Pose is one of the most difficult postures. It requires total relaxation of the body and mind, switching off from thoughts and letting go of worries. Relaxation helps reduce blood pressure, muscle tension, anxiety and fatigue, as well as improve focus and self-confidence and increase energy. In the mania of Christmas, give 10 minutes to yourself to lie in Corpse Pose and fully relax so you can enjoy the day stress-free.
Christmas Corpse Lay down on the floor in a position that is comfortable for you. Try and keep your neck long, your buttocks soft, and back of the rib cage broadened. Take a deep inhalation and stretch your arms above your head, tensing every muscle in your body. As you exhale, release all this tension, bringing your hands down by your side, palms to sky and allowing your feet to wing out slightly wider than hip distance. Close your eyes, relax your breathing, and scan your body from the tip of your head to your toes, relaxing each body part in turn. Remain here for five to 30 minutes. To come out of the pose, hug your knees into your chest and roll onto your right side for a few moments before coming up to seated very slowly. 29
©2012 Nicola Jane Hobbs www.NicolaJaneHobbs.com
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