Friday, 1 January 2016

Got a hangover? - Yoga can help

Oops-if you had too many last night and now your head is pounding and you feel nauseous, drink plenty (non-alcoholic drinks!-water and herbal teas) and eat light.  Here are some yoga poses and a breathing technique that may help.

Cat/Cow - this is soothing for the neck, shoulders and back.  You may have slept in an awkward position last night so your body will really appreciate this.  A stiff neck can make nausea and headache worse. It will also encourage circulation enabling blood to carry any toxins to the liver to be broken down and kidneys to be eliminated from your body.  Come onto all 4s.  Breathe in, lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back.  Continue working with your breath.

Downward Facing Dog variation with a chair- like Cat/Cow this will boost circulation. Come to standing and holding your elbows, place your forearms on a chair.  Walk your feet back and bring your head to the chair seat (or on a cushion placed on the chair seat)

Child's Pose variation with bolster/rolled up blanket - this is soothing for your nervous system and gentle pressure on the abdomen will help with elimination - come towards the back of the mat, take the knees wide and walk the hands forward, bringing your right cheek to the bolster or folded blanket.  You may want to close your eyes. After a few minutes place your left cheek on the bolster or blanket and stay a few more minutes.

Seated Twist (stimulates digestion and encourages elimination) - Sit on a block or cushion with your legs outstretched.  Bend your right knee and wrap your left arm around your right thigh.  Breath in, lengthen through the crown of your head, breathe out twist to the right. Hold and breathe.  Breathe out to release the pose and repeat second side.

Seated Forward Bend variation with a chair (helps soothe your headache) - place a cushion on the chair seat and sit with your legs under the chair.  Place your right cheek on the cushion and let your arms rest either side of the cushion.  Close your eyes if you wish. 

Easy pose and Ujjayi Breathing-calms the nervous system and eases nausea

If you have never practiced Ujjayi Breathing, start by breathing out through your mouth with a 'ha'. Imagine that you are trying to 'fog' a mirror held just in front of your mouth. Notice how the back of your throat feels as you do this. You should notice a slight tightening at the back of your throat. 

Now, with your mouth closed, imagine 'fogging' up a mirror placed at the back of your throat with the inhale. Again you should notice a slight tightening of your throat and hear a soft sound as the breath passes over the throat. 

Ujjayi pranayama involves this slight tightening of the throat both on the inhale and the exhale. Ujjayi breath is practiced with the mouth closed. The sound made by the air passing over the throat is often likened to the sound of the waves which is why Ujjayi is sometimes also called 'Ocean Breath' or some people say it is like a baby snoring. Because the the sound of the breath focuses the mind, the breath practice is very calming.

Savasana - your body's healing energies are released as you relax.  Lie with your legs outstretched, feet hip distance.  If it feels more comfortable rest your legs over a bolster (this may be the case if you have lower back issues). Have your arms a little way from your body and head and neck in line with your spine.  Tuck your chin slightly to lengthen the back of your neck.  Gently close your eyes and with a feeling of letting go let your body become heavy on the mat.  Rest here as long as you wish before taking a stretch.  Roll onto your right side, drawing your knees towards your chest and stay here for a few moments before coming back up, hopefully feeling much better. 

Janet x

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