After a long holiday season, I’m ready to ring in the new year with a little less snacking and a lot more movement. If you’re also feeling sluggish from the holidays, one of the best ways to slough off the stress and get refreshed is by hitting the mat for a New Year’s Day yoga flow sequence. It’s short, simple, and you can do it right from your home.
What’s especially great about yoga is that you can modify anything to make it easier if you’re a beginner, or more challenging if you’ve been practicing for awhile. It doesn’t have to be complicated either; as long as you commit to rolling out your mat on New Year’s Day and
trying out a yoga flow, you’re already on your way to better health and wellness in 2022. In fact, this may be the perfect way to begin a brand new yoga practice that’ll carry you all the way until next New Year’s Day.
Just like a new year full of exciting opportunities, this
yoga flow sequence for New Year’s Day is full of familiar poses to help you get started, as well as a balancing pose challenge to help you stay steady, even if 2022 gets a little rocky. Finally, we’ll cap it all off with a soothing spinal twist and savasana to rejuvenate your mind and body so you’re ready to bring your all to the new year. Ready? Let’s get started.
First, you’ll want to warm up your body before you try any advanced poses. The simplest and most efficient way to do that is with three to five rounds of sun salutations, or
surya namaskar. Sun salutations are the perfect way to wake up the body as they require you to use all of your large muscles. Plus, it’s just a nice way to greet the new day and the new year. If you aren’t sure how to do a full sun salutation, check out this instructional video by Yoga with Adriene. Bohdana Tkachuk/E+/Getty Images
After you’ve warmed up, you’ll want to step into a warrior II position. Step back with your left foot and position it so that the edge of your foot is parallel with the short end of your mat. Your front foot should be facing forward, and your front knee bent. Stretch your arms out in front and behind you. For an added bonus and more flexibility work, you could also flow into a
reverse warrior position and back to warrior II a couple of times.
We’re all looking for a new perspective in the new year, and a side angle pose can help you see things in a fresh light. From warrior II, tilt your torso forward toward your front knee, keeping the shape of the legs. You can place your palm on the floor beside your foot, or you can take it a bit easier and prop your forearm on your thigh. Stretch your other arm over your head and hold for a couple of breaths.
Now it’s time to stretch out your IT band and hamstrings. From your side angle pose, slowly and carefully straighten out your front leg. If you can’t get it all the way straight, no worries; everyone is different and has varying ranges of mobility. When you’re at a place that’s slightly challenging, yet not painful, go ahead and reach your hand toward your foot, calf, or ankle. Stretch your other arm over your heart and open your chest to glance up at the ceiling.
Next up is the balancing challenge, but you’re up for it. From triangle pose, stretch a little deeper so that your palm lays flat on the ground. (If you need to adjust your feet to do this, that’s totally okay.) Take a few deep breaths, and when you feel centered and ready, lift your back leg off the ground as high as you can while maintaining your balance. When you’re stable, lift your other arm and look up at the ceiling.
Yoga is all about balance, so you want to be sure to repeat your sequence on the other side. Start from warrior II again, but this time, place your opposite foot forward. Then, work through the rest of the sequence, including extended side angle pose, triangle pose, and half moon pose.
When you’re finished with your second half moon, step forward so that you’re standing tall and your feet are hip-width apart. Slowly, forward fold and place your palms on your mat. Step both feet back so you’re in a plank position. Lower yourself all the way to the mat so that you’re now lying on your stomach. Then, lift both halves of your body to stretch out your lower back and core after all the work they did to stabilize you during your practice.
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The hard work is done, and all that’s left to do is stretch with a soothing spinal twist. You can flip over onto your back and do this lying down, or you can sit up and twist — both work wonders to wring out tired muscles. In either position, you’ll pull one knee closer to your chest, and with with your opposite hand, pull it to the other side of your body. Then, twist in the opposite direction for an oh-so-good stretch.
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No yoga flow sequence is complete without
savasana, or corpse pose. Lie down flat on your mat, palms up, and close your eyes. Let all the good stuff you did for yourself sink in and any lingering stress from 2021 wash away. After all, it’s a new year, and you’re already on the right track to feel your best in 2022.