There is something so uplifting about starting the New Year with a clean slate – 365 days full of possibility are ahead of Guys and Dolls everywhere. Caitlin and Danielle use this time to reflect on the year’s past and resolve to evolve our minds and physical being. This is the time to reset and refocus on priorities. To kick off the New Year we are so honored to be mentioned among Book Yoga Retreat’s Top 50 Blogs to Follow in 2017. Here are ten New Years goals and yoga postures to cultivate happiness in 2017.
There are times when we can all feel overworked, overwhelmed and under-appreciated. Tree pose helps us get one foot off the ground so we can re-adjust and plant our roots firmly back to the earth.
- From Mountain pose, bend the right knee shifting all the weight into the left leg.
- Turn the right knee to the right wall resting the heel against the left leg.
- Look down at the floor and stare at one point.
- Slowly slide the right foot up the left leg, only as high up as you can maintain your balance.
- When you are balanced here, slowly bring the palms together, prayer position in front of the heart.
- Keep staring at your focal point on the floor. Keep the left leg strong pressing the foot into the floor.
- Keep the right knee bent 90 degrees towards the sidewall.
- The shoulders are down and back and the chest is pressing forward.
- If you are very balanced here, try the next stage by inhaling the arms over the head. The arms are in an H position, or the palms are together with the thumbs crossed, or the fingers are interlaced with the index finger pointed up. The fingers are reaching up and the shoulders are down and back. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
- To release: slowly exhale the arms down and then release the legs back into mountain. Repeat on the other side.
By creating warmth in your temple, you can cultivate love to share with others. Side Plank is a great heart opener that will warm you from the inside and let your light shine outwards. This posture strengthens your obliques and abdominal muscles.
- Turn onto your right side with your legs extended and your feet and hips resting on the ground and stacked on top of each other.
- Place your right elbow directly under your shoulder to prop up your torso, and align your head with your spine.
- Gently contract your core and lift your hips and knees off the floor.
- Wherever you are, lift your hips one inch higher.
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, gradually working up to a minute, and return to the starting position.
- Transition to the opposite side and repeat.
Let our New Year’s resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Göran Persson
SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS
There are certain people who come into your life for a reason – to lift you up, keep you motivated and to have fun with! Best friends are those special people who understand and appreciate you to the core. These people should be celebrated! As we head into the New Year, we wish to share healthy habits (and plenty of laughs) with these warm souls. This Downward Dog Partner Asana is a team-building posture that will leave you both feeling lovely!
- Come to a table top position on your hands and knees. Set your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers parallel or slightly turned out, and turn your toes under.
- Exhale and lift your knees up from the earth coming into an upside-down V. Work your heels toward the earth. Root down through your thumbs and forefingers.
- Gaze toward your naval. Root down to prepare for your friend.
- Place your hands a one-two feet in front of Person A.
- Root down through your palm and press into the earth as you lift your feet above your friend.
- Rest your toe’s at the top of Person A’s back.
- Activate your core and raise your feet to play around with handstand
A positive outlook can brighten your whole day and a specific yoga pose can help relieve stress, fatigue and anxiety. One-Legged King Pigeon pose is a wonderful asana to help you exude positivity, while promoting a deep stretch and regulating digestion.
- Begin in table top position with your hips directly above knees, and your hands slightly ahead of your shoulders.
- Slide your right knee forward to the back of your right wrist, with your shin parallel to your hands.
- Slowly slide your left leg back, straightening the knee letting front of the thigh rest on the earth.
- Position the right heel just in front of the left hip.
- Reach your left arm high and reach back grabbing for your lifted foot.
- Lift your torso away from the thigh. Lengthen the lower back by pressing your tailbone down and forward.
- Stay in this position for a minute. Then, with your hands back on the floor, carefully slide the left knee forward, then exhale and lift up and back into Downward Dog. Take a few breaths, drop the knees to all-fours on another exhalation, and repeat on the second side.
What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan
To start the New Year, let’s be mindful of how we treat our temple. Practice balance when making decisions of what and how much to consume. Meal prep is an excellent way to keep healthy options on hand. A great way to stay in balance is with Extended-Hand-To-Big-Toe-Pose.
- Start in mountain pose and gently shift your body weight into your right leg.
- Bend the left knee bringing the left foot off the ground, hold your left big toe with your left hand, create a toe lock using your with your pointer and middle finger wrapped around your big toe.
- Slowly straighten your leg to a comfortable extended leg position.
- Keep both hips square to the front of the room.
- Keep your spine aligned and left arm in the socket with shoulder sliding down your back.
- Release slowly and repeat asana on the opposite side.
As we look to the future, it’s our time to prepare for what lies ahead. In the case of adversity, we resolve to be a warrior, not a worrier. This posture requires strength, balance and concentration. Warrior III helps prepare and remind us to be brave.
- From Mountain pose, step the right foot a foot lengths forward and shift all of your weight onto this leg.
- Inhale the arms over your head and interlace the fingers, pointing the index finger up.
- As you exhale, lift the left leg up and out, hinging at the hips to lower the arms and torso down towards the floor.
- Look down at the floor and stare at a point for balance. Reach out through the left toes and the crown and fingers making one straight line.
- Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
- To release: inhale the arms up to lower the leg back to the floor and step both feet together back into Mountain pose.
- Repeat on the other side.
No matter how many directions you may be pulled in this year, practice Upward Salute to keep it all supported.
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
- Feel the soles of your feet softening into the floor and the firmness of the floor supporting your weight evenly across each foot. This is your ground. Notice that there is a natural lift that accompanies this grounding.
- Allow the breath to move freely along the full length of your torso, without bloating the belly. With an exhalation, soften and release the weight of your organs down, feeling the navel draw slightly inward. Sense your organs resting on the floor of your pelvis, and pay attention to the firming in your legs and a subtle lift moving up the spine. As you catch this energy, surrender your shoulders and begin your inhalation, feeling your breath across your back as you raise your arms. You should sense lightness and length in your arms, like a kid flying down the road in a car with his arm sticking out the window. The effortless lifting of weight by its very nature is grace, and in Urdhva Hastasana, grace is the outer expression of the inner movement of energy, where all effort is coordinated and directed from the abdominal center.
- At the peak of the pose, the arms converge over your head as you bring your palms together.
- Spread your shoulder blades and draw your chin in slightly (towards the center of the throat) as you take your head back and gaze at your thumbs. If you have neck vertebrae complications, keep your head upright until you develop the strength and understanding necessary for taking it back.
Cultivate joy and happiness in 2017 by bringing a smile to your face every day.
- Begin by generating a feeling of natural happiness. Close your eyes and feel the sensation emanate from the backs of the eyes. This may happen naturally or it may take several moments to generate the feeling and focus on happiness. Remind yourself of a happy experience, the face of a joyous child, a puppy playing.
- Let your lips curl into a smile. Let the smile radiate over your body like a waterfall. Visualize this meditative stream flowing down the center of your spine, to your heart and lungs, then into your stomach and spleen, and liver. Let it run down through the kidneys, the colon and intestines, down into your genitals, and out into your legs and feet.
- When you are ready, bring your hands together in prayer position and complete your meditation with a moment of gratitude, reflection, or prayer to seal the energy of your meditation into your life. Remember that you can cultivate the inner smile anytime throughout the day to fill the heart with compassion.
All photos of Caitlin and Dani taken by our bearded photog, Josiah Thorngate.
Caitlin Campbell and Danielle Sommerfeld believe in the Joriki vision and are brand ambassadors.
Asana descriptions supported by YogaJournal.com