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3 Yoga Poses For Fulfilling New Year's Intentions

Another trip around the sun has begun and that usually means an increase in New Year’s resolutions, personal growth quests, and gym memberships. Everyone has their own short-term and long-term goals and individual ways of achieving them. But whether your goals and resolutions are related to the physical body or the mind, yoga can help you get closer to your ideal state of being.

Intentional movement in yoga postures has a direct affect on one’s wellness, temperament, functionality, and happiness. When we learn to harness these skill on our mat, we can learn to easily translate them to our daily lives as we work to reach our goals. This is why we set an intention for our practice at the beginning of class - to keep a goal in mind that we can work toward.

You may be wondering how yoga can directly apply to your New Year’s resolution, so we compiled 3 common intentions or resolutions for 2017 and yoga poses that can help you on that path.

Intention: To find more ease

Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined butterfly pose)
In both our bodies and our minds, we are straining and working hard all day long that by the end, our bodies are craving release and relaxation. This pose is a great place to find ease and work on releasing the muscles that want to tense up.

Begin lying on your back with legs outstretched. Tilt your pelvis toward your face slightly to spread the low back onto the mat. Bend your knees so the heels draw in towards your pelvis. Keeping heels of the feet together, use your hands to help guide the knees apart, letting gravity help to stretch the inner thighs. Relax the glutes as your arms rest by your sides. You will begin to notice where you are carrying tension. Try to release it and find ease and relaxation. Stay here and breathe for 1-10 minutes, gradually increasing the hold over time. To come out of the pose, use the hands to gently close the knees, hugging them into the chest to reset the spine.

There are many ways to modify this for beginners or advanced yogis by placing a block under each knee if the stretch is too intense. To intensify the stretch, try placing a block between the shoulder blades and/or under the head to create a slight backbend.

Intention: To find more balance

Pose: Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
Whether we are rushing around for school, work, or chauffeuring kids, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and out of balance. Learning to harness quiet and stillness in your yoga practice can have a major influence when walk off our mat. This pose allows you to find the balance you are reaching for in your life while offering you a means to let out frustrations through mindful movement.

Start in tadasana (mountain pose) with feet hip distance apart, reaching tall through the crown of the head. Feel the foundation beneath all surfaces of the feet. Bring hands in prayer at the center of the chest. Start to shift your weight into your right foot as you bend the left knee to bring the left foot to the inner shin or thigh, avoiding the knee. Keeping both hips squared, lengthen the tailbone towards the floor to find length in your spine. Find a steady gaze to help you balance and imagine a line of energy through the center of your body. Hold for 3-5 breaths before lowering the left foot next to the right. Repeat on the other side.

Intention: To feel more grounded.

Pose: Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
The holidays are often a time for friends, family, and temporarily forgetting about responsibilities that make us groan. But it can be easy to get too caught up in our vacations and day dreams to bring ourselves back to the present moment. After the holiday high wears off, reality reconvenes and we may find it difficult to find the grounding we need to get our days and year started. This pose brings us close to our foundation and allows us to feel stable and centered.

To begin, sit on 2 folded blankets or a bolster with your legs extended out in front. Bend your knees to cross your right shin in front of your left shin, moving your knees closer together until the feet are directly underneath. Slide the flesh of the glutes outward so you can sit directly on your sitting bones. Hands can be together at the center of the center or on the tops of the thighs. Find stillness here as you close your eyes and focus on the breath, making your inhales and exhales the same length. Stay in this pose for 3-10 minutes, gradually increasing the hold over time for more grounding.

This posture is standard in meditation, as it keep the spine in neutral alignment. Modify and transitions can also be added to stretch or strengthen depending on the intention. Try reaching the arms overhead to find length in the spine and shoulders, or fold forward to find a stretch in the low back and inner thighs.

Ready to change your life and commit to YOU? Join us at Joy Yoga Center this new year and begin your journey on the path to joy. We will be offering HUGE discounts on all memberships, class packs, and more ALL MONTH LONG!

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