12 days of yoga before Christmas

/ December 14, 2018/ Holistic Nutrition, Yoga/ 0 comments

Inspired in the lovely song the Twelve Days of Christmas, I came up with a practice of twelve days of yoga to help us prepare for the holidays. Yoga helps me to stay grounded and find joy in the things we have and I wanted to share this as my gift to you.

The idea is to introduce a pose every day to build up to a sequence that you can practice at home during daytime. Each day, you become familiar with only one pose and dive more in depth. You need a yoga mat, a chair, and 2 blankets or large towels. Please read the whole description for the day before starting your practice. If you are starting after day one, make sure to read all poses before you start.

The sequence consist of gentle chair yoga and restorative yoga poses that anyone in good health should be able to practice. I intended this post for my clients as they are familiar with these poses. However, if you are a beginner or have injuries, consult with your yoga teacher before attempting this practice. Feel free to contact me for any concerns or suggestions.

By Christmas eve, you are comfortable with a sequence to practice at home and hopefully in better shape to enjoy the holidays. Check this post everyday until Christmas eve to see what every days brings!

On the first day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Two yoga poses, a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the third day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Three yoga poses, a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the fourth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Four yoga poses, a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the fifth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Five yoga poses,  a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the sixth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Six yoga poses, a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the seventh day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Seven yoga poses, a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the eighth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Eight yoga poses, a restorative forward bend,
a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the ninth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Nine yoga poses, a swaying head side to side,
a restorative forward bend,
a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the tenth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Ten yoga poses, a neck sequence,
a swaying head side to side movement,
a restorative forward bend,
a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the eleventh day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Eleven yoga poses, a moving head in circles,
a neck sequence,
a swaying head side to side,
a restorative forward bend,
a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated  twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

On the twelfth day of twelve days of yoga my true love gave to me
Twelve yoga poses, a savasana,
a moving head in circles,
a neck sequence,
a swaying head side to side,
a restorative forward bend,
a legs up the chair,
a supine pigeon,
a supine butterfly,
a supine child,
a seated back bend,
a seated twist, and
An easy seated pose to feel like
A partridge in a pear tree

Savasana

Savasana

Place a folded blanket for your head at the top of the mat and a rolled blanket for your legs towards the bottom of your mat.

Lie on your back with just your head on the folded blanket and the rolled blanket under your knees. Ensure the folded blanket has enough height to keep your neck supported but not too high as to bend it.

Separate your legs mat width distance and bring your hands away from your heaps with your palms facing up.

Turn your attention to your natural breath. Find stillness and hold this pose for as long as you want. A minimum of 2-3 minutes.

To come out of the pose, bring your knees towards your chest and roll to your right into fetal position. Right arm under your head, round your back and breath into it.. When you feel ready, push with your left arm and seat up. Breath and continue to moving head in circles.

Moving head in circles

Seat in a comfortable position on your chair or on the mat. If you choose the mat, use the blankets to support you in any way you need. Place your hands on top of your tights or wherever you feel comfortable.

Start making a small circle with your head clock wise direction. Inhale when your head in reclined to your back and exhale when it is to the front of your body. Make 3 to 4 circles slowly! Widen the circle if you neck is willing.

Change the direction of your circle, counterclockwise and repeat.

To end this sequence, bring your head back to the center. Breath and continue to neck sequence.

Neck sequence

If you are starting here, seat in a comfortable position on your chair or on the mat supported with your blankets.

Straighten your back and grow tall. Turn your head twice to the left, twice to the right. Turn your head in angle between your left and center and move your chin up and down twice to the back left. Turn  your head 90 degrees from the left to the right and move your chin up and down to the back right. Turn your head back to center and move your chin up and down. Repeat this sequence 3 to 4 times.

Remember to breath at all times! continue to swaying head side to side.

Swaying head side to side

If you are starting here, seat in a comfortable position on your chair or on the mat supported with your blankets. Take a couple of deep breaths.

Straighten your back and grow tall. Let your head tilt to the left side as if you wanted to touch your left shoulder with your ear. Then tilt your head to the right side. Make a continuous movement from left to right, right to left several times. Increase the pace when you are comfortable with the movement.

To end this movement, slow down until your return to stillness. Breath and continue to restorative forward bend.

Restorative forward bend

Seated forward bend

Place a chair on your mat and a folded blanket in the seat of the chair to rest your head. Another forded blanket on the mat for your head.

Seat on the edge of the blanket facing the chair. Make sure your pelvis is tilted forward and lean to the chair. Rest your forehead on the edge of the seat. Your arms can rest on the chair. The goal of this pose is to rest on it for a long period of time rather than stretching to your maximum.

Notice that in this pose, it may feel easier to exhale than inhale. Make your exhales longer. Use a count in your head and try to make the exhales twice as long as the inhale. Find stillness and hold the pose for 2-3 minutes or longer.

To come out of the pose, place your hands on the front of the seat of the chair and push to slowly rise up. Breath and continue to legs up the chair.

Legs up the chair

Legs up the chair If you are starting here, place a chair on your mat and a folded blanket on the mat for your head.

Seat with your buttocks close to the front of the chair and your legs on the seat of the chair in a 90 degree angle. If your upper legs are longer than the height of the seat, place a second folded blanket on the seat to support your legs. If they are shorter, try to find a smaller chair or raise yourself up with blankets. Otherwise it might feel uncomfortable.

Rest your arms at your side with palms facing up. Let your body rest from the effects of gravity. Find stillness and hold the pose until you are ready to come out.

Breath and continue to supine pigeon,

Supine pigeon

If you are starting here, place a chair on your mat and a folded blanket in front of the chair to rest your head.Seat with your buttocks close to the front of the chair and your legs on the seat of the chair in a 90 degree angle.

Separate your legs hip width distance. Adjust the blanket so that just your head is resting on it and your shoulders rest on the mat. Bring your arms a little away from your hips with the hands facing up. Cross your left leg over the right, and open the left knee to the left. Just your foot is resting on the below the right knee.

If you have any tightness in the outside of your right upper leg, massage with our right hind. Find stillness and hold the pose for 2-3 minutes or until you are ready to switch.

Uncross your left leg and place it next to your right leg, rest for a breath or two. Cross the right leg over the left one and repeat.

To come out of the pose, uncross the right leg and place it next to the left. Breath and continue to supine butterfly.

Supine butterfly

Supine butterflyIf you are starting here, place a chair on your mat and a folded blanket in front of the chair to rest your head.

Seat with your buttocks close to the front of the chair and your legs on the seat of the chair in a 90 degree angle. Take a couple of deep breaths.Open your knees to the sides and bring the sole of your feet together. Adjust the blanket so that just your head is resting on it and your shoulders rest on the mat. Bring your arms a little away from your hips with the palms facing up.

Take a deep breath. Imagine the air flowing down to your hips.  Find stillness and hold the pose for 2-3 minutes or until you are ready to come out.

To come out of the pose,  bring your knees back together with the help of your hands. Breath and continue to supine child.

Supine child

Supine childIf you are starting here, place a chair on your mat and a folded blanket in front of the chair to rest your head.

Seat on the mat with your buttocks close to the front of the chair. Rest your legs on the seat of the chair in a 90 degree angle. Take a couple of deep breaths. Bring your knees towards your chest and let your feet rest on the chair. If your configuration allows you to bring your tights to rest on your belly, your feet may come off the chair and that is OK. Adjust the blanket so that just your head is resting on it and your shoulders rest on the mat.

Notice that in this pose, it may feel easier to exhale than inhale. Make your exhales longer. Use a count in your head and try to make the exhales twice as long as the inhale. Find stillness and hold the pose for 2 or 3 minutes.

To come out of the pose, roll to your right into fetal position. Right arm under your head, round your back and breath into it.. When you feel ready, push with your left arm and seat up. Breath and continue to seated back bend.

Seated back bend

Seated back bend If you are starting here, place a chair on your mat and cover the back of your chair with a blanket for support, especially if your chair has no padding.

Seat on a chair with your back resting on its back. Take a couple of deep breaths. Place your arms behind it as shown in the picture. Open your chest, open your heart. If your neck allows it, start slowly lifting your chin up any amount. If you feel any discomfort, bring your chin down. You are still getting the benefit of this pose.

Notice it may feel easier to inhale than to exhale. Make your inhales longer. Find stillness and hold the pose for 2 or 3 minutes.

To come out of the pose, slowly bring your chin down to your chest on your next exhale. Place your hands in the sides of the chair and push to help you slowly rise up until your are seated straight up. Breath and continue to seated  twist.

Seated twist

Seat on a chair with the left side of your body facing on the back of the chair. Your knees and legs together in the side of the chair. Inhale straighten your back and grow tall. Exhale twist to the left from the waist and grab the back of the chair with your hands. Inhale straighten, exhale maybe twist a bit more. Remain in this pose aware of your breath for a couple of minutes.

When you are ready to come of of the pose, on the next inhale, slowly turn to the right until your facing the side of the chair in line with your legs.

Now, do the other side, The right side of your body facing the back of the chair, Bring your legs and knees together, Inhale straighten your back, exhale twist to the right. Hold this pose for a couple of minutes. Then on the next inhale, slowly turn to face the right side of the chair.

Continue to the easy seated pose.

Easy seated pose

Seat in a comfortable position on your chair or on the mat. If you choose the mat, use the blankets to support you in any way you need.

Close your eyes and place your hands in your belly below the navel. Inhale inflate your belly into your hands to your maximum, and exhale let all the air out of your lungs. Repeat 4 more times keeping your attention on your breath.

Next, move your hands over your ribs. First, inhale into your belly and then all the way to your ribs where your hands are. Exhale let from your ribs down to your belly. Repeat 4 more times while you remain aware of your breath.

Next, move your hands above your breasts. First, inhale into your belly and then through your ribs all the way to your shoulders. Exhale from your shoulders down to your belly. Repeat 4 times or  more while you remain aware of your breath.

Observe your breath, your body, and your mind. Realize they are all one, they are all you. Slowly open your eyes and take your time to move about. If you like to chant, end by saying Om, shanti, shanti, shanti.

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