If the holiday season has left you feeling more saggy than sparkly, try this detox yoga sequence from Esther Ekhart and get the energy flowing again.
1. Swaying arms
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, knees soft. Swing your arms from side to side, twisting at the waist and let your gaze follow the direction of your arms.
2. Side stretches
Bring your feet together and reach the arms up. Hold your left wrist with the right hand and lean gently to the right, keeping your lower belly drawn in. Try to keep the chest broad and outer left hip from swinging out to the left. You can take the gaze up to look under the left arm. Repeat on the other side, changing the grip of the wrist.
Step the feet a little wider than the hips, toes pointing slightly out. Come into a squat and bring your elbows to the inside of your knees, palms together at the chest. Make sure the knees are pointing in the direction of the toes and try not to ‘collapse’ into the chest. If your heels hover off the floor, place a couple of blocks or rolled up blanket underneath them.
4. Malasana twists
Stretch the right arm out and place the palm on the floor. Lift the left arm up and twist to the left, taking the gaze up if it feels okay on the neck. Try to keep the left knee from dropping inwards and apply a gentle pressure to the inside of the right knee with the upper right arm. Repeat on the other side.
5. Standing forward fold
With the knees a little bent and the thigh muscles drawing upwards, fold forward from the hips and let the head hang heavy. You can place your palms or fingertips on the floor, or place your hands on blocks. Keep the shoulder blades firm onto the back and space in the sides of the neck.
6. Crescent lunge
a) Step the right foot back and bend the left knee deeply. Try to keep the belly drawing slightly up and the tailbone extending down to avoid too much compression in the lower back. Sweep the arms up and draw the upper arms back. You can take the gaze upwards.
7. Crescent twist
b) Bring the palms together at the chest and rotate to the left, bringing the right elbow on top, or to the outside, of the knee. Draw the left hip slightly back to keep the hips level and press the top of the right thigh back.
8. Chair twist
c) Step the right foot next to the left but keep the arms in the same position. (If you’re a bit wobbly, it helps to take the gaze down to the floor!) Keep pressing the elbow slightly against the knee and try to lean slightly back.
From here, gently unravel and come back into Standing forward fold. Then repeat the twist sequence on the other side, stepping back into Crescent lunge this time with the LEFT foot.
9. Supported Reclined Hero’s pose
Take a bolster and elevate the top of it with a brick or block. Come into Hero’s pose with the bottom of the bolster placed at the small of your back. If Hero’s pose is not comfortable, you can stretch your legs straight out in front of you instead. Rest slowly back and breathe …