Although we're partial to a good yoga flow all year round, winter's the one time of the year we can't do without. Warming, grounding, energising - yoga is the practice we need to nurture ourselves and dive into self-exploration for the colder and darker months of the year. So we asked our resident yoga expert Michaela Olexova to share one of her favourite routines to see us through the Christmas lead-up and beyond - complete with a festive illustration. Get it below.
As the days get cold and the northern wind brings the first frost, find your glow in the flow of your breath, your life force energy, creating a yoga practice that reflects the changing season and the nature within you. Flowing effortlessly from one yoga pose to another, linking the movement with each breath, then pausing for a moment to take time to listen to your body, to explore your mind and to honour your entire being and existence.
This is the time of the year to reflect. It’s the time to anchor your mind in NOW as so many of us wish to run back to the hot (and stress free) summer days or rush to the new year in a hope of a much brighter future instead. Trusting that you’re exactly where you need to be at this time and space is the key as well as allowing yourself to release the inner tension, creating more space in both, your body and mind, and removing any blockages that may hold you back.
Transforming dark to light, cold to warmth, stillness to flow, this yoga sequence gives you an opportunity to nurture, balance, restore and ignite your inner sun so you can shine your light, warmth, love and greatness with the world. And this gift is priceless!
HOW TO FLOW: I actually created it as a flow, so that you can build one pose a day at your own pace. That’s the beauty of it - having the flexibility as you change with the season. You could start slow and get familiar with each pose, holding longer at the time (autumn/early winter) and gradually grow into a flow (winter) when you’re ready or when you feel like it. That way, you can use each pose separately for your daily dose of yoga and wellbeing, or work it as a whole flow if you wish to in one go - it’s up to you.
ON THE 12TH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE SELF GAVE TO ME...
- 12 UJJAYI BREATHS
Inhale on the count of 3. Exhale on the count of 4-6, creating a humming sound of the ocean waves as you contract your throat muscles. Repeat 12 times.
- 11 CHILD POSES
Relax your body towards the floor stimulating your intuition as you massage your 3rd Eye Centre (Ajna Chakra) at the centre of your forehead. Hold for 11 breaths.
- 10 WARRIORS I
Lift your whole body towards the sky as you inhale. Ground yourself through your feet connecting to mother Earth as you exhale. Hold for 5 breaths on each side.
- 9 TREES
Channel your energy into a focal point in front of you as your breathe 4 times on each side + 1 centering breath in between.
- 8 CHAIRS
Activate your core and hold for 8 breaths. Breathing from your abdomen, direct the energy from your Solar Plexus towards your fingertips as well as your toes.
- 7 FORWARD FOLDS
Start with you knees slightly bent to increase the fold and bring your head towards your legs. Keep straightening your legs and going deeper with each of your 7 breaths.
- 6 TRIANGLES
Make sure you engage with the outer hip to hold your Triangle and distribute the body weight between both feet equally. Hold for 3 breaths on each side.
- 5 BUTTERFLIES
Be intuitive and choose to either sit still, bend forward or flap your butterfly knees (wings) towards the floor as you take 5 breaths. Focus on exhaling any discomfort in your hips.
- 4 BOATS
Hold for 4 breaths keeping your legs straight or bent and supported. Remember to open your chest to align your spine preventing you from rolling backwards.
- 3 BRIDGES
You can choose to hold this pose for 3 breaths or bring a bit of action here and come up with each inhale and roll your spine down on each exhale.
- 2 SHOULDER STANDS
Just introduce your body to inversions...once in the morning and once in the evening!
- 1 RELAXATION
Don’t underestimate the power of Savasana! Your body and mind needs to relax and recharge its battery and this is the most natural way to do so - at least once a day.
#GetYourOMBack at www.michaelaolexova.com
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