Before the holidays is a great time to detox. It can stave off weight gain and put you in a healthy mindset to help you resist temptation. And detoxing after the holiday “re-tox” — no matter how much carnage was left on that Thanksgiving dinner table, or how much stress crept into your weekend — is as easy as unrolling your mat. No matter when or on what level you could use a little realigning, this sequence is for you.
Follow the how-to and photos below for this fast and effective 10-minute yoga for detox sequence for firming up, de-bloating, resetting the metabolism and cleansing the inner body. I’ve also included a simple stress-relief tool: a heart-clearing meditation. Use them during the holidays … or any time you need to take an express trip back to centered.
You’ll do this with Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, a style I created for multitaskers to get more from every minute of the practice, so prepare to use my signature Core Postures to move, play, and get your health back on track … today. Why wait?
You can do this sequence as a separate practice, and repeat it as many times as you like, or insert it into your own sessions for a calorie-torching addition to your regular yoga routine.
The Practice: Holiday Detox
Instructor’s note: If you are doing this sequence by itself, please warm up with 3-5 rounds of Sun Salutations, such as my Core Salutations. Breathe Ujjayi — slow, deep inhales and exhales through the nose. Keep the pelvic floor muscles, Mula Bandha, gently lifting for the duration of the practice until the Child’s Pose rest at the end.
Benefits of this practice: Burns calories, reduces water weight, tones thighs, rear, abdominals and arms. Releases lower back and shoulders. Inverts and oxygenates the body for optimal detoxifying and supports stress release. Builds lean muscle for a higher metabolism.
Standing Shakti Kicks: Step to the front of the mat. Reach down and plant palms or fingertips at shoulder distance. Maintain your core strength by lifting the navel and low ribs toward the spine as you exhale and bring the right knee into the chest. Inhale here. As you exhale, kick one foot into the air, open your mouth and strongly sigh, roar, or vocalize as you wish to release old energy and bring in the new. Inhale to stretch longer into the splits, and exhale knee back into the chest. Alternate 5-10 times, then switch sides.
Down Dog Splits: From the Shakti Kicks, Plant your hands and walk back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Press hands and fingertips firmly into the mat, and lift the right leg. Middle fingers point forward to align the wrists. Square the hips and face toes towards the floor to access your navel lift. Press energetically out through your top heel. Pulse your leg higher 5-10 times.
Core Plank: From Down Dog Splits, Exhale and sweep your right knee into the chest. Bring your shoulders over the wrists, and round up through the back and hips, the higher, the better. Lift your navel into the spine, hold, and breathe for 3-5 breaths. Alternate a few single breaths with Down Dog Splits for the best results.
Twisted Lunge: During the last Core Plank, exhale and lightly step your right foot to the right thumb using this higher place of strength. Lift your back thigh up to make space, then curl the tailbone down, finding an inner wave from the pelvic floor, navel and low ribs to reach up into a high lunge. Bring the palms together at your chest. Keep the back leg active and pull the navel in to move the front hip crests back. Place your left elbow on the right knee. Maintain squared hips, and roll the top shoulder back, deepening the twist from the heart slightly on each exhale. Take 3-5 breaths here, then return to Down Dog.
Bow Pose Waves: From Down Dog, come forward into Plank Pose, and lower onto the belly. Bend your knees, and either reach for your feet or catch hold of the outer ankles. Maintain the shins and feet over the thighs and press the feet back and up as you lift the heart and shoulders into a backbend. Inhales bring you up higher, exhales lower your forehead back down to the floor. Repeat 3-5 times.
Child’s Pose: From your final Bow Pose, press your hips to heels, back rounded. Touch your forehead to the floor or make fists under it and rest. Breathe deeply into the back body for 5-10 breaths or more.
After your Child’s Pose, return to hands and knees, and repeat the sequence on the left side. When you return to Child’s pose for the final time, try the following meditation practice.
“Drop the Baggage” Meditation
As you rest and breathe, take this precious moment to let go of anything you’ve been carrying: stress, limiting beliefs, a critical self-image, other people’s choices. With every exhale, allow more past resistance to release, making room for inhales of freedom and possibility. Then go out there, and fill up with all the thoughts, words and actions that are the most meaningful, and empowering, to you!
Now that you’re back on track, what will you choose next?
P.S. For a longer practice encompassing the principles of total body/mind transformation, check out Seane Corne’s terrific Vinyasa Yoga videos on GaiamTV.com, or my calorie-burning Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga: Power Hour DVD! Or brush up on yoga pose names with Gaiam’s fun and habit-forming ConcentratiOm pose matching and memory game.