It is a new year, are you ready for a new you? What better time to shed all the unwanted toxins from your body than the beginning of a new year? The simple practice of yoga will warm your body releasing alcohol, fatty foods and stress through your sweat. Your breath will calm your insides and bring you to a state of clarity.
Twists, gentle backbends and inversions are the best way to physically and emotionally cleanse your body and provide immunity for the year a head.
B.K.S. Iyenger, who recently celebrated his 94 birthday, wrote in Light on Yoga about twists. “The liver and the spleen are contracted and so are toned and cease to be sluggish. The intestines, neck, shoulders, hips and back also benefit from twists. They also help to reduce the size of the abdomen. “
To maintain or restore the normal spinal rotation, I recommend that you practice a simple spinal twist once or twice a day. Twists bring centering benefits to our consciousness. As the layers of muscle and bone revolve deeply, your attention is drawn into the stable, unmoving center of the pose. The beginning of a new year is an important time to be centered and reflect.
Headstand, or sirasana, is the king of all asanas. Being upside down provides healthy blood flow through the brain cells allowing our thoughts to become clearer. This will also provide energy after a long night awake celebrating New Years!
There are simpler forms of going upside down with out actually standing on your head or your arms. Downward dog, legs up the wall and supported shoulder stand reap the same benefits as more high-level inversions.
Backbends heal the spine and are especially important as we Americans spend much of our time leaning forward. There are many forms of backbends including gentle belly-down backbends including locust, bow, and cobra.
Backbends stretch the heart and relieve tensions stored in the muscles and help send off natural painkillers. They may also cure depression and boost the immune system.
In yoga we sent intentions. Intentions are softer than resolutions. Intentions invite us into a dialogue with ourselves and honor our imperfection and humanity. This year let’s all set an intention to get on our mat and strengthen our bodies and mind to be the best we can be in 2013!