Sweaty Betty

Child's Pose

Awakens the connection between the body and the breath. A soothing, resting pose that can also be used at any time during practice.

Step-by-Step

- From a standing position, come to hands and knees

- Point the toes so the tops of the feet are flat on the mat

- Keep big toes together and widen knees to the outer edges of the mat

- Shift the weight of the hips back so the buttocks rests close to or on the heels

- Extend arms straight out in front, palms facing down

- Bring the forehead to the mat with eyes closed and rest

This December the 24 poses of Christmas Advent Calendar will be revealing a new pose every day to keep you on track for soothing, stretching & toning this festive season. Hover the mouse over a pose below to reveal its benefits & a step-by-step guide.

Bow Pose

A deep and invigorating backbend that strengthens and stretches the spine, arms and thighs and opens the lungs. Great for revitalising and detoxifying

Step-by-Step

- Lie flat on stomach, forehead down, bring feet together and arms at sides

- Bend knees and reach back with hands to hold either outer ankles or feet

- Exhale, draw tailbone down and under and navel towards spine

- Inhale, kick out through the feet, letting the leg strength lift chest

- Breathe here, lift higher with each inhale, rolling weight forward into stomach

- Relax face and jaw and draw shoulders down away from ears

- Exhale, lower down slowly, release legs and arms alongside body

- Turn head to right, let heels fall outwards, relax for a few breaths and repeat

Downward Facing Dog

This pose engages the whole self. It calms the central nervous system, creates an overall flexible strength, decompresses the spine, strengthens and tones the arms, sculpts and lengthens the thighs and is a great shoulder opener

Step-by-Step

- From child's pose, stretch arms out, palms on the floor, hands shoulder width apart

- Curl toes under and lift hips up and back, straightening the legs

- Walk feet toward the back of the mat and hands forward to create a good, long base

- Keep tilting the tailbone up to create length in the spine

- From the side you should look like an inverted V

- Super glue the shoulder blades down the back

- Press down through the knuckles of the thumbs and index fingers

- Rest eyes on one spot and breathe deeply

Tree

This pose creates balance while toning the legs. Over time it builds tremendous inner and outer strength and a feeling of accomplishment as you learn to balance.

Step-by-Step

- Feet parallel, hip width apart, lenghthen spine & fix gaze contracting core

- Shift weight to right foot, raise left foot & place the sole at the mid-thigh

- Feel that the left knee is comfortably pointing out to the side

- Gently press the left foot into the right inner leg

- Visualize keeping the hip points & shoulders level with the ground by engaging the right outer hip muscles and pressing lightly into the right big toe mound

- Feel an energetic connection rising from the inner arch of the right foot upwards

- Keep a light contraction in the core to keep the abdomen from falling forward

- Place palms in the prayer at the heart, continue to press right foot lightly into the ground as the crown of the head lifts

- Stay here for several breaths, pause and repeat on the other side

Warrior I

A super dynamic pose that creates an amazing and powerful integration of leg strength and flexibility of the hips.

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Step-by-Step

- From Downward Facing Dog, lunge the right foot forward to the right thumb

- Bend the front knee to 90 degrees

- Spin the blade of the back foot to a 60 degree angle, with heels on one line

- Sweeparms up over the head alongside the ears

- Face palms toward each other with the fingers pointing up & thumbs down out

- De-focus the eyes on one point in front of you

Warrior II

This pose is an incredible hip-opening pose that sculpts the muscles of the buttocks and thighs. It also hones the power of concentration.

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Step-by-Step

- From Warrior I, square hips & chest to the side wall

- Open arms out to the sides at shoulder height the over thighs, palms down

- Stretch the mat apart with the feet

- Dip hips down so that the front thigh is parallel to the floor

- Liftthe belly, spine & chest

- Gaze steadily at the middle fingernail of the right hand

- Hold for five breaths

Side Plank

Side plank is a terrific pose that helps build incredible heat in the body. It tones and strengthens the arms and torso, and trains all of the muscles in your body to work together.

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Step-by-Step

- From Downward Facing Dog, come forward into a High Push-Up position

- Bring feet together so the inner ankles & thighs are touching

- Spin ankles to the right, coming onto the blade of the right foot

- Float left arm up towards the sky, lift hips high and take the gaze upwards

Extended Side Angle

This pose opens, stretches and strengthens the whole body.

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Step-by-Step

- From Crescent Lunge, exhale & place both hands on the floor to the inside of the front foot.

- Spin back foot flat as in Warrior 1 & keep the heels on one line

- Keep right pam flat on the mat in line with the ankle

- As you exhale, open the torso to the side & extend left arm up alongside left ear

Chair Pose

Chair pose is a powerful pose that increases the heart rate and stimulates the circulatory and metabolic systems.

Step-by-Step

- From standing, bend knees deeply to 90 degrees & bring arms alongside ears - Arms are shoulder width apart, palms facing each other

- Squat down as if you were sitting in a chair

- Bring hips & tailbone slightly back

- Lift chin & look up through hands

Gorilla Pose

This deep forward bend releases the lower back and the backs of the legs. It restores balance and allows you to relax into a calm state of just being.

Step-by-Step

- Slide the palms underneath the soles of the feet

- Bend the knees as much as needed to get the tips of the toes touching the wrist creases

- On the inhale, lift halfway up & on the exhale, fold forward hanging at your hips

- Use theupper body strength to pull the torso down

- Bring weight over the heels

- Straighten the knees as much as needed but without forcing

- Set eyes to a point directly behind you

Eagle Pose

Eagle is a balancing pose and with all balancing poses, your gaze and your breath are key. Balance comes from a calm, centered mind.

Step-by-Step

- Inhale and sweep arms up high, alongside the ears

- Exhale and wrap the right arm under the left, hooking at the elbows

- Bring elbows to shoulder height

- Press palms together and extend fingers straight up

- Bend knees to a 45-degree angle and sweep your right leg up and over the left

- If you can, hook your right foot around the left ankle

- Square your hips and your chest to the front wall

- Draw the tops of your shoulders back and down as you lengthen the spine

- Fuse your eyes to a point in front of you

Standing Straddle Bend

This deep hamstring and calf stretch is also an inversion, which allows for deep release as it quiets and soothes the nervous system.

Step-by-Step

- Facing the side wall, turn your toes in a bit so your feet are slightly pigeontoed.

- Inhale lift the chest and chin up towards the ceiling bringing a slight arch to your back.

- On the exhalation, hinge forward from your hips sliding the hands down the backs of the legs and holding on to your ankles, heels or sides of the feet.

Triangle

Triangle Pose allows you to open up and feel your whole body, working out any kinks or compressions. It allows you to be expansive in your body.

Step-by-Step

- From Warrior II, straighten your front leg

- With straight legs, press your left thigh back and reach toward the front wall with your right hand, bringing your torso over your front thigh.

- Reach down and grab your left shin (or ankle, or the floor, whichever is best)

- Float your left arm up to the sky.

- Gaze high at your upper hand.

Standing Leg Raise

This pose tones and hones the entire standing leg. But it is a balancing pose that requires a fused gaze.

Step-by-Step

- Bring your right knee up into your chest. Hold the knee with your right hand and place your left hand on your hip

- Grab your right big toe with the first two fingers of the right hand

- Inhale and lengthen your leg to whatever degree you can while still maintaining a straight spine

- Engage your abs to stabilize

- Open your right leg out to the right side

- Turn your head and look over your left shoulder

Locust

Locust is a gentle backbending pose that brings awareness to your spine and flushes the whole back side of your body with fresh, oxygen-rich blood. It lengthens and opens the front of the body as well, and gives the digestive and other vital organs a deep and powerful massage.

Step-by-Step

- Lying on your front side, flip your palms down and bring them into airplane wings on either side of the body.

- Bring your chin to the floor.

- Separate your feet hip width distance apart.

- Inhale, and in one fluid motion lift your chest, ribs, thighs, and feet off the floor.

- Lower your head so your neck is long and in one line with your spine.

Camel Pose

Great for increasing flexibility in your lower back, and for opening your hips, quads, and chest.

Step-by-Step

- Kneel at the front of the mat, keeping knees underhips

- Look back and make sure shins, ankles and feet are parallel

- Put both hands on hips, gently arch back

- When ready reach the right hand down towards the right foot.

- Then bring the left hand down, so that both hands are reaching f both feet

- Press hips forward dropping the head back to look behind you.

- Come up slowly, sit on the heels, and lean forward into Child's Pose.

Bridge Pose

Great for increasing flexibility in your lower back, and for opening your hips, quads, and chest.

Step-by-Step

- Lie on the mat with knees bent and feet hip width apart

- Position arms so finger tips reach the back of the heels

- Lift hips towards the ceiling, keeping feet and palms flat on the floor

- Ensure shoulders and the back of the head are flat against the floor

- Breath, hold and release slowly

Pigeon Pose

Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen. This pose is also a great hip opener and can often be felt deeply in specific upper-leg and hip muscles.

Step-by-Step

- Start in Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together and bring the right knee forward between the hands so the outer right leg is resting on the mat

- Make sure the left hip is pointing down toward the mat

- Stay here with the hands resting out on the mat in front of you allowing the torso to rest over the right knee

- Hold for five breaths then place hands on the mat in front of you, tuck the left toes up and step your right foot back into Downward Facing Dog

Seated Forward Bend Pose

This pose is amazing for stretching out the hamstrings, runners and cyclists listen up!

Step-by-Step

- Start in a seated position on the mat with legs extended in front of you

- Inhale and draw the spine up long.

- As you exhale, begin to come forward, hinging at the hips.

- On each inhale, extend the spine, and on each exhale, come a bit farther into the forward bend.

- Keep the neck at the natural extension of the spine.

- Do not round the back.

- Take hold of the ankles or shins, whichever you can reach.

Shoulder Stand

This pose bennefits the entire body. Most importantly it massages the thyroid gland, promotes healthy circulation and simulate the nervous system.

Step-by-Step

- Start in lying on your back with legs straight

- Bring one knee into the chest, then the other

- Straighten and raise one leg at a time to point your feet upwards.

- Exhale and kick backwards with both feet at once, to bring your hips off the floor - Support your hips with your hands.

- Slowly move one hand at a time towards your upper back until your body is vertical. Your chin should touch your chest.

- Hold this posture as long as you can to gain the most benefits and breath regularly

- To come out of the pose, slowly lower your body vertebra by vertebra

Fish Pose

Stretches the front of the body, particularly the throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, and muscles between the ribs. It strengthens the upper back muscles and the back of the neck, which improves spinal flexibility and posture.

Step-by-Step

- Start by lying on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting alongside your body, palms down.

- Press orearms and elbows into the floor and lift your chest to create an arch in your upper back

- Lift shoulderblades and upper torso off the floor. Tilt your head back and bring the crown of your head to the floor.

- Keep pressing through your hands and forearms. There should be very little weight pressing through your head.

- Keep thighs active and energized. Press outward through your heels.

- Hold for five breaths. To release the pose, press firmly through your forearms to slightly lift your head off the floor.

Lying Abdominal Twist

This pose helps the waist and hip get into better shape as well as toning the legs and stretching out the spinal column.

Step-by-Step

- Lie flat on the back with legs stretched out

- Fold the right leg at the knee

- Lift the right leg and place your sole on the left thigh

- Press right knee on the floor with the left hand so it touches the floor

- Turn your head towards the right and try to gaze at the right hand

- Keep head turned and knee pressed on the ground for a few seconds

- Release the knee slowly and return to starting posture

- Repeat on the other side

Savasana

A pose of total relaxation, Savasana relaxes the central nervous system and calms your mind.

Step-by-Step

-Lie flat on your back with legs together but not touching, and your arms close to the body with the palms facing up

-Keep your eyes gently closed with the facial muscles relaxed and breathe deeply and slowly through the nostrils

-Starting at the top of the head and working your way down to the feet, bring your attention to each part of your body, consciously relaxing it before proceeding on to the next

-Remain this pose for 3 and 5 minutes , if you become sleepy begin to breathe a little faster and deeper

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