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Fitness | Your Dream Body

Yoga For New Beginnings

Today is the last day of 2013. This closing of one year–and the beginning of another–is the perfect time to reflect, rid yourself of regretful feelings and negative energy, and welcome positive change to your life.

This means it’s perfect time to practice yoga that can banish negativity, close up any gaps, and clear the path for an auspicious year. For me, 2013 was a year full of many highs…and many lows. First, blessings: I have said this before but I’m so grateful for Peaceful Dumpling, all of my writers and editors who are more than anything my friends, and our readers. My boyfriend was yet again the rock that keeps me, the “artistic one,” grounded. My family, friends, and my cat continue to be a constant source of joy–the reason I laugh and smile through my days. But the lows were definitely there, too. Because I cherish relationships, I have a hard time healing when my trust in people are broken. To this, my anxieties, doubts, physical and mental stress, and impatience (I’m Korean!) all added up to some very real pain this year.

I want 2014 to be different. Just as winter days seem quiet but are filled with hope, hidden beneath the snow, my yoga practice is how I will quietly turn a new leaf by ridding old negativity and clearing the path ahead of me. These poses are meant to wring out badness, open your root and sacral chakras, and bring fire into your solar plexus, which governs your sense of independence, assertiveness, and power–all great moves to take charge of your destiny in 2014!

1. Sit with your bottom raised a few inches from the floor and your legs folded in front of you (blanket or cushion will work). Bring your hands in front of your heart chakra in Buthadamara Mudra. (I’ve been incorporating this mudra (gesture of intention) in my practice for a month now and it’s been wonderfully calming and empowering.)
buthadamara mudraThis mudra is a gesture of warding off evil. Cross your wrists (right wrist on top) with both palms facing outside. Curl your second and third finger inward, and touch the pinkies together. Your forefinger should be pointing up. Close your eyes. Taking in deep, calm, slow breaths through your nose, meditate on the intention of your choice, such as “Protection,” or “Power.”

2. Bring your lower legs parallel to the floor into Boat Pose (Navasana) variation. Engage your core, and put your palms together with straight arms. Inhaling sharply through the nose; then, twist the torso and slash your palms to the outside of your left thigh as you exhale sharply through your mouth. Inhale and return to center, then exhale and slash your palms to the outside of your right thigh. As you wring your torso and exhale, imagine that you are getting rid of negativity. boat pose copy
3. Start your vinyasa from standing, ending in Downward Dog. Bring your right leg straight up into Three Legged Dog pose.
three legged dog copy
4. From your Three Legged Dog, inhale and shift your body forward into a plank position while simultaneously bringing your right knee to your right shoulder (Knee to Shoulder Plank). Exhale and shift your weight, kicking your leg back to Three Legged Dog. This time, inhale and bring your right knee to your left shoulder. Exhale and kick back. Repeat for 5 more breaths; you can also challenge yourself by shifting forward to chaturanga arms (perpendicular to the floor, elbows in and next to your body).  Repeat on the other side.knee to shoulder plank
5. After your last Downward Facing Dog, gently lower your knees to come to tabletop position. Inhale, raise your head forward with an open chest, and curve your spine out (Cow). Exhale and curve your spine in, contracting your torso (Cat).

heart and root chakra opening sequence6. Finally, sit back in lotus pose and hug yourself with your arms, in gesture of self-gratitude for a job well done on another year. Here’s to an even better 2014!

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Illustrations: Peaceful Dumpling

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