Mid-January can feel stark after the glittery glamour of the holiday season. Yet there is more to this month than simply frozen ground or broken New Year’s Resolutions.
Instead, abundant blessings are held within the heartbeat of this starter month. Sadly, though, too often opportunities can be missed down to a lack of awareness and past experiences.
The chill of winter and the illusion of hyper-normalised living can lead us to create a fantasy that happiness can only be obtained once we reach the warmer months. This illusion can result in a lack of living in the present, thus prevent us from being alive to the bountiful possibilities that are presented daily; if only we would take the time to dig deep, go within, and by doing this, there is a chance through self-awareness to prosper and grow.
My fun but transformative mid-January pick-me-up yoga routine is perfect for getting momentum going in a month where diving under the quilt may feel more appealing.
Like with all forms of exercise, please consult your doctor before trying and exercise at your own risk.
- Breathing is the key to happiness and one of the best things to do for a pick-me-up. Method: Come to sitting in the centre of your mat. Use a cushion if you find this difficult. Close the eyes and place one hand on your heart and one hand just below the navel. Allow your shoulders to let go as your sit bones support the upward movement of your spine. Begin to breathe in and out through your nostrils. Try to focus solely on your breathing. As the mind starts to wander just bring it back to the breath. The more you can sit here and just be; the more likely you are over time to conquer the limitations of the mind.
Time: 2 Minutes ( can be done for longer with practice)
- Modified Sun Salutation Warm-Ups I came up with this routine for a long-term yoga client who has knee problems. It worked so well I use this myself for a juicy warm up routine. The beauty is it allows the body to warm-up without strain and can be done in a small space. Method: Stand up tall in the centre of a yoga mat. Have your feet together or small distance apart. Make sure the feet are evenly parked. Inhale reach the hands up with the legs straight but not locked. Exhale, bend the legs as you reach for the floor. With the knees still bent, inhale and come into chair pose.
Exhale and then inhale the hands up above the head as you straighten the legs, exhale hands by the side, repeat.
Time: 1-2 Minutes
3. Joy-Magnifying Modified Camel Pose is great to ease stress from the body. Method: Come up into kneeling but with your toes turned under, extend your chest up and activate the core; as you lean back either keep your hands on your hips, or reach back and touch the feet ( for advanced yogis), all the time opening your heart forward. Breath deeply and come out of the pose slowly.
Time: 1o to 60 seconds
- Detoxifying Seated Twist is good for digestion.Method: Bend the right leg and cross it over the extended left leg so that the foot is on the floor as close to the other leg as is comfortable. Flex the extended foot and ground the body on the floor as you lengthen the spine upwards.Inhale and, as you exhale, bend the left elbow, bringing the arm in front of the bent right thigh. Inhale and lengthen as you twist the torso and look over your right shoulder. Make sure your neck is long, so you are not sticking the chin out too much.Keeping this shape, press the fingertips of the left hand to the floor with the arm extended behind you. With each breath feel as the torso lengthens, and with each exhalation, you surrender a bit further into the pose. Then hold comfortably for five breaths. Come out gently and repeat on the other side.Tip: Don’t turn your neck any further than you can turn your chest or you will not get the full benefit
- Calming Modified Forward Bend. In this relaxing version of the pose, you still get a good stretch. Method: Sitting up straight with your legs out in front of you and your body tall. If you find it hard to sit up straight try sitting on a yoga block or cushion. Now bend your legs, reach your toes and try to hook your first two fingers around the toes. Straighten the legs only as far as you can keep the body, so it is resting on the legs. The emphasis is the body being on the legs. If still difficult use a belt and a folded blanket on your legs. Once the body is on the legs trying and relax the shoulders. Take deep relaxing breaths and remember with all poses to work to your comfortable edge. Come out of if any pain. Don’t come out because you are bored, though. Hold for 5 to 60 breaths building up time slowly.
- Deep Relaxation is like a tonic for the body, mind, and soul.Lie on your back with your legs as wide as your mat, palms facing up and out to the sides. A great thing to do is to tense your shoulders up towards your ears and then let it go. Tense the face, stick out your tongue and then relax. Imagine your eyeballs are sinking back into the skull. Just lie there, surrender and allow yourself just to go deep. 5 Minutes.
- Mood-Lifting Positive Affirmations. Speak nothing but kindness to yourself for a minute. Any negative self-talk can be switched to trick the subconscious. Statements like: ‘I am useless’ can be changed to’ I am useful.’ ‘I am not enough,’ to ‘I am enough.’ Shower yourself with self-love. Try it daily to transform.
So hopefully after this, you should feel more ready to embrace January.
Outside my window as I conclude this post the sky is cold and full of winter. As the evening sun dies into the night, the light casts a beautiful reddish golden pattern against the horizon, the kind of light that you only get at this time of year.
Let me know how you get on and remember: true happiness lies in embracing the present!
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