The Christmas holidays are well and truly behind us and now we are faced with 12 brand new months to create whatever we would like. But in order to get to all the good stuff, we must make it through January!
January is like a never-ending month made up of Mondays. It’s dark, wet, windy and there are no Christmas lights to cheer you up as you drive to and from work in the dark. Couple that with the realisation that we’ve made New Year Resolutions to get to the gym or not eat Pringles every day and January is looking like the month that fun forgot.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve put together this short Yin Yoga sequence to help you reset, refocus and encourage you to see the best in January. All you need is 30 minutes and some quiet space to relax, breathe and stretch it out. So, put on your favourite gym clothes, or pyjamas and let’s show January who’s boss.
Begin in a comfortable seated pose. This can be in a cross legged ‘easy’ pose like me, or you can have your legs straight in front of you. If you find it challenging to sit up straight, then sit onto a rolled-up blanket (or cushion.) Place one hand on top of the other on your stomach and notice your breath. You can set an intention for your practice or use this time to settle your mind, maintaining focus on the inhales and exhales.
Step the left leg forward, bringing the right knee down onto the ground. You can place a rolled-up blanket or pillow under the right knee for extra comfort. Hands come to the ground framing the left foot or onto blocks. Taking a deep breath in, think about lengthening the spine forwards and on the exhale allow the hips to drop towards the mat. Keep your focus on lengthening on the inhale and deepening into the stretch on the exhale. Hold this pose for up to 3 minutes, and then sweep the left leg back to meet the right, coming into child’s pose.
Take child’s pose with the toes together and knees apart, allowing the chest to sink down towards the floor. Arms can be stretched out in front of you, or you can place the backs of the hands on the floor beside your hips. Rest here, reconnecting with your breath for 2 minutes, before repeating dragon pose with the right leg leading.
From child’s pose come up to a seated pose, bend the knees and draw the soles of your feet together into butterfly pose. The closer the feet are to your body the more intense this pose can be, so set yourself up for comfort by taking the feet further away in front of you. If you need a bit of extra support, sit on a cushion or blanket. Taking a deep breath in, extend the arms up to the sky, lengthening the whole body and then on an exhale begin to fold forwards. You can place a couple of cushions or pillows on your lap and rest your head here for up to 5 minutes.
To come out of the pose, inhale to lengthen up to seated, and then swish the legs left to right in windshield wipers.
In your seated pose, extend both legs in front of you. It can be nice to place a rolled-up blanket or pillow underneath your knees for a bit of support. Have a few cushions/pillows in front of you and begin to fold forward onto your supporting props. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to fold forwards, stay in a seated position with your hands behind you to encourage a long, straight spine. Remember that you can bend your knees as much as you need to here. Relax, breathe and stay in the fold for up to 5 minutes.
Take a comfortable seated position, using a block, blanket or pillow to encourage you to sit up with a tall spine. Inhale to lengthen the arms up towards the sky, sitting a little bit taller, and as you exhale twist to the left. Place the right hand onto the left knee and use your left hand to steady you. Use your breath to relax into the twist, staying here for up to 3 minutes, before repeating on the opposite side.
Come to lay down on your back, legs extended along the floor (if comfortable for you) and arms by your sides. Take your attention back to the breath and follow the inhales as your lungs expand and the exhales, as the air leaves your body. Stay here for 2 minutes feeling the after effects of the stretches. Place a blanket over yourself and add any props under your knees, to ensure that you are comfortable. Allow yourself to relax into the floor as your thoughts drift away.
I hope you enjoyed this short yin yoga sequence, let me know how you got on with it and if you’d like some more at home practices.