Be happy, healthy, and balanced in 2019.
By Sarah Burgess
It may be a new year, but we are still stuck in winter. Sure, the days are getting a little longer, but it can still feel like a long way to spring. The good news is that these weeks of chilly weather are the perfect time to get planning. Now is the ideal time to embrace a fresh start and set goals for an amazing 2019. Remember to be kind to yourself and take things slowly. This way you are much less likely to give up on all your good intentions by February.
To help you enjoy the best start to this year and let your inner sparkle shine, I have brought together some simple lifestyle and yoga tips, designed to give you a head start on feeling good.
Discover your #GoddessInspiration for a happy and healthy new year, below.
Detox Your Lifestyle
It can be tough when you are a goddess in demand to take the time for self-care. But small lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to your physical and mental health. These are my top tips for hitting reset on your lifestyle:
- Forget convenience food and cook using fresh ingredients.
- Slow down and take time to meditate.
- Always grab a good night’s sleep.
- Move your body and embrace exercise.
- Reduce screen time (and power down after 9 pm).
Yoga Tips for January
Our bodies can crave different things in January. Some of us need restful practices to get through those draining winter days. Others need a dynamic practice to kick-start our year. Many of us need a healthy mix of both to bring us out of the holiday break. These are some of my favourite ways to hit the mat in January
Supta Baddha Konasana
This is one of my favourite restorative poses and it’s perfect before bed or for those times when you need to reduce your stress levels and enjoy some quiet contemplation. Opening out and supporting the front body, this pose allows you to focus on your breath – calming your nervous system and encouraging every cell in your body to relax.
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These foundational flows are a great way to get your body moving and circulation pumping. Helping you to stay warm on these cold winter days. Try beginning your day with 5 to 10 rounds of your preferred sun salutation to get your morning off to a great start.
Twisting Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Parivrtta Hasta Padagustasana)
This dynamic pose may look challenging, but it’s achievable with a little practice. And it can really help to boost your energy levels. Begin standing tall and feel the connection of your feet to the ground. Inhale and lift your left leg, catching the little toe side edge of your left foot with your right hand. Stabilise your centre and pull your belly button in and up. Inhale, extending your left heel forward and your left arm towards the back of your mat, twisting your torso towards the left. On each inhale, lengthen the spine and on each exhale twist a little more. Lift up through the crown of your head as you expand out in all directions. If straightening the leg is too challenging, simply keep it bent and hold the outside of your knee instead. Hold for 5 breaths, release and repeat on the other side.
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This is a great pose for building core strength alongside stability in the arms, wrists, and spine. Start in Downward Facing Dog pose, then inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders directly over the wrists. Press your outer arms inward and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then spread them away from the spine. Engage the muscles in your lower abdomen and front thighs, lengthening your tailbone toward the heels. Lift the base of the skull away from the back of the neck and look straight down at the floor, keeping the throat and eyes soft.
Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
This pose creates total body integration and balance while strengthening and toning the abdominal wall and supporting the low back. Sit up straight, lift your legs off the floor and balance on your seat. Catch behind your knees and extend your heels high. Activate your feet, press the inner arches together and fan your toes open. Extend your hands forward and spread your fingers. Engage your low belly and lift your chest up and open. Balance as you breathe deeply and hold for 5–10 breaths or as long as feels comfortable.
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After your practice, always take time for a long Savasana (Corpse Pose) to rest and reflect on the effects of the poses. This quiet time allows the body to fully settle again after the movement of the practice.
You may be tempted to embrace a strict diet after the indulgence of the holidays, but it’s probably not what your body needs right now. It’s better to wait until Spring for deep cleanses or detoxes, and, for now, focus on eating warming healthy foods and avoiding processed sugar, unhealthy fats, and alcohol. Keep your body nourished with seasonal foods like sweet potatoes, kale, and chard, and enjoy warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and chilli.
About The Author
Sarah Burgess is a London-based yoga teacher, who teaches primarily at Yoga Creation studio, E14 (www.yogacreation.co.uk) as well as in a number of corporate gyms. She also offers individual and small group private classes to help people achieve their own specific goals, focus on their individual needs, and address particular health concerns and injuries. She has been practising yoga since 2001, teaching for over 12 years and is registered as a Senior Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She enjoys practising and teaching the full breadth of yoga styles, from dynamic ashtanga and vinyasa through to quieter and more healing practices of restorative and yin yoga. To find out more about Sarah and her upcoming workshops and courses, visit: www.sarahburgessyoga.com
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