Saturday, November 24, 2012

Burn Off the Bird

Are you as sick of leftovers as I am yet?  Yes, they are delicious.  But after a few days I can't even look at pie anymore without feeling a bit queasy.   While it's common around the holidays to put on a few pounds, it also feels really  good to get moving and burn off those extra calories.  And as long as you stay active, you won't feel quite so guilty about joining in the delicious holiday festivities.

Yoga is a great way to get active.  It's low-impact, affordable, and can be done just about anywhere.  Try this series of Sun Salutations to get your blood pumping, build muscle strength, and improve flexibility.  Don't be discouraged by the length of the sequence! Here's the breakdown:

Surynamaskar B: Sun Salutation

Tadasana: Start with your feel firmly rooted into the earth, with the crown of your head reaching towards the sky.  Lightly shrug the shoulders back and let your palms face out.
 

Mountain Pose



Utkatasana: Inhale and bend the knees as you reach towards the sky. Keep your shoulders relaxed as you bend the knees a little bit more. 

Chair Pose








Uttanasana: Exhaling, straighten the legs and bend at the waist to fold forward.  Keep a slight bend in the knees to protect the lower back.  Let your head hang towards the earth.


Forward Fold






 Flat Back: Inhale, and come up on your finger tips, as you flatten your back.  It's okay to bend the knees here as well.







  Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

Four-limbed Staff Pose






Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.



Upward Facing Dog




Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.


Downward Facing Dog





Virabhadrasana I: Inhale the right leg up towards the sky.  With an exhale, step your right foot between your hands.  Turn your back heel down and root into the earth.  With an inhale, reach up towards the sky as you come up into a high lunge.



 Warrior I (Right Side)







Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

 Four-limbed Staff Pose






Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.


 Upward Facing Dog





 Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.
 
 Downward Facing Dog






 Virabhadrasana I: Inhale the left leg up towards the sky.  With an exhale, step your right foot between your hands.  Turn your back heel down and root into the earth.  With an inhale, reach up towards the sky as you come up into a high lunge.


 Warrior I (Left Side)






Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

 Four-limbed Staff Pose (yes, again!)





Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.


 Upward Facing Dog




Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.  Lightly step your feet between your hands with an inhale.


Downward Facing Dog (almost done!)






Uttanasana: Exhaling, straighten the legs and bend at the waist to fold forward.  Keep a slight bend in the knees to protect the lower back.  Let your head hang towards the earth.

  Forward Fold






Tadasana: Inhale, rooting down into your feet to reach up towards the sky. Exhale, and let the arms come down.  Lightly shrug the shoulders back and let your palms face out.


Mountain Pose (aaahhhhh!)





Be sure to move with your breath throughout the sequence.  Sun salutations are like a moving meditation.  Repeat this sequence 3-5 times, and you will end feeling energized.  And ready to face that next holiday feast!

Be Well,
Kristin

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