06 Jan 3 Hot Yoga Poses for a Calm New Year
Calm new year is not an oxymoron.
We don’t have to let the stress of resolutions and work to bog us down. Not if we have a plan that includes radical self-care.
Yoga is especially useful during the new year when there’s extra stress. Stress relief requires our extra attention, and shorter days leave us dragging. But here are three postures to guide us through each challenging one.
- Paschimottanasana, seated forward bend.
When our personal space and boundary issues are triggered, this posture works wonders. In the final minutes of hatha yoga, we straighten our backs, hold our big toes with peace-sign fingers, and extend our feet to be parallel with the mirror. Every time we inhale, we elongate the spine a little bit more. It’s like magic. By progressively lengthening the breath, our body follows suit. The oxygen creates new space we didn’t realize we had. This technique is especially impactful in those moments when we’re feeling violated or restless and claustrophobic.
- Ustrasana, camel pose.
New years are also about opening our heart. But openness is something we can arch into. Camel pose is the perfect posture to reinforce this. Not only is it the deepest backbend of the hatha series, it’s also the only posture that fully exposes our throat, heart, belly, and reproductive organs, all at the same time. Doesn’t get much more vulnerable than that. And as the body goes, so go the heart and mind. We open ourselves in class and find ourselves open in the world.
- Backbends of all kinds.
We feel stress when we feel out of control. And we tend to feel out of control when there are a million things to attend to. Standing poses, for example, teach us confidence. Backbends teach us flexibility and openheartedness. Inversions teach us poise. A minute at a time on the mat, yoga takes us out of the victim position. These postures help us cultivate internal sources of power so that our action isn’t dependent on our external environment. This allows us to stand up for ourselves through difficult conversations that may arise during the first few months back to work.
Remember, before we generously give our attention, our personal space and our time to friends and family this year, let us give ourselves something first. The priceless gift of self-care.
When we practice these three postures, and we can be sure to have a calm, joyous new year.
Scott Ginsberg is the author of 365 Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat: A Year in Hot Yoga.
Buy your copy here!