I admit to use the holidays as an excuse to eat all the cookies, cakes, and creamy (vegan) side dishes I want. And, while my soul is satisfied, my stomach is not so happy. This Digestive Fire Flow is great for awakening those digestive juices and making room for more gingerbread.
Start with your feet hip distance apart. Draw up through your spine, rolling your shoulder blades back and down, tucking in your tailbone so it points towards the floor. Engage your core, especially the area right below the belly button.
On the inhale, raise your arms overhead. Exhale as you bend your elbows and bring them parallel to your shoulders as you gently twist to the right. Inhale and raise your arms. Exhale, bend elbows and twist towards the left. Continue to do this for 4-6 breaths, gently warming up the back.
Swing your left arm down and step your left foot back into wide legs. Bend your knees, pointing your toes the same direction. Raise your arms and bring your pointer finger and thumb together. Feel sexy in this pose! This is a powerful statement of divine feminine power. Let’s access that power.
Breath of Fire
Inhale as you raise your arms and stretch them towards the ceiling. Create space in your center body. On the exhale, tighten the area right below your belly button as you bring the arms down and release the breath with a “HA!” Inhale through your nose as you raise your arms up again. Exhale “HA!” Continue for 3-5 rounds.
Keep your knees bent. Raise your arms up on the inhale and lean to the left, keeping your core tight. Bring your belly button towards your spine as you round center. Stretch your arms forward, keeping shoulders away from your ears. Circle to the right and up. You should feel an awesome stretch in your back. Make sure you move thoughtfully, as this could aggravate your lower back. Straighten your legs if your quads are burning. As you circle down towards the floor, you’ll find it becomes much more of a balance pose. Do 3-5 rounds here. Exhale as you fall forward and inhale on the way up.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Turn your toes to face the side edge of your matt, keeping the wide spread of your legs. Engage your quads by lifting your kneecaps. Reach towards the ground. It’s okay if you can’t reach. If your hamstrings are feeling tight, use blocks. Do not throw your body weight into your head. Both feet, palms, and head should be in a straight line. Weight is in your legs.
Ground your right hand below your nose. Twisting from your upper and mid back, raise your left hand to the sky. Look up to your hand if your neck allows. Stay for 3 breaths and switch sides. To go deeper in the twist, grab your opposite ankle.
Rise up from wide-legged forward bend with a flat back. Step your feet closer together. Turn your right foot to the front of your matt, grounding your left foot 45 degrees. Square your hips as you raise your left hand towards the sky, right hand on hip. Bring your left hand on the outside of your right foot. If you aren’t feeling that today, bring your left hand on the inside of the foot and on a block. 5 breaths here.
Rise up and switch sides.
Step to the front of your matt. Raise arms overhead and exhale as you fall towards the earth. Inhale Flat Back. Your exhale takes you through Chaturanga. Rise up into Upward Facing Dog. Exhale back into Downward Facing Dog. 5 breaths.
From Down Dog, bend your knees and elbows. Suck in your belly towards your spine as you round your back. Wave forward into plank. Keeping your stomach in, use your front body (not the back body!) to bring it back to Down Dog. Repeat 3 times. Rest in Child’s Pose.
One Leg Core Planks
Come back into Down Dog. Raise your right leg high to the sky, keeping toes pointing down and hips square. Bring your belly to spine as you round forward with the right knee lifting towards your nose. Inhale as your rise up and exhale as right elbow touches right knee. Inhale leg up and exhale bring right knee to left elbow. Lower your back heel and extend your right leg straight out. Lower the right foot and bring left hand up into Fallen Triangle. Stay for a breath.
Twisted Half Moon
Bring your right leg carefully to center and step it through. Ground firmly through all 4 corners of your foot as you ground your right hand and raise your left hand to the sky. Twist towards your bent leg. Stay for a couple of breaths and then bring your right hand a couple of inches up and to the right. Lift your left leg to hip height. Press through the sole of the left foot. Make sure your bottom foot is parallel with the edge of the mat and not turned out by pressing the big toe mound down. This is challenging! If you can’t do this, use a block to elevate you. Stack your hips on top of each other. Step raised foot forward.
As you rise up, bring your left foot with you. Bend your knees to wrap your left leg over your right. Wrap your toes around your right calf. Alternatively, keep your left toes on the ground. Swing your left arm under your right and raise your elbows to eye level. Keep your back straight here. Stay for 3 breaths.
Vinyasa and repeat on the other side. Go through One Legged Core Planks, to Fallen Triangle, up to Twisted Half Moon and Eagle Pose with the right leg over the left and right arm under the left arm.
After you’ve finished, raise up into Tadasana and sink back into Chair Pose.
Clasp your fingers together, except your first finger and thumb into Charlie Angel’s mudra. Open up through your chest on the inhale. On the exhale, bring your navel to spine and twist shoulders and upper back to the right. Inhale rise up to center with bent knees. Exhale and twist left. Repeat 3-5 rounds.
Breath of Fire
Sink deep into Chair Pose. Bend your legs as far as they will go without your knees going over your toes. Gather heat and energy on the inhale. Exhale as you stick your tongue with a “AHHHH” and straighten your legs, bring your arms back. Inhale rise back into Chair. Exhale and release your breath with an “AH!” Get loud here! Build heat on the inhale and release it on the exhale. Repeat 4 times.
Chair to Boat Flow
Take 3 breaths in Tadasana. Exhale and sink back into Chair. Carefully lower until your butt touches the ground. Lean back into Half Boat Pose. You can keep knees bent and hand on your hamstrings. You can raise your arms with bent knees. Or straighten both legs and arms. Bring your navel to spine and be careful not to round your lower back. Stay for one breath and then push forward back into Chair. Sink back into Half Boat. Take one breath and then back into Chair. Repeat 3-5 times.
On your final round stay in Half Boat Pose. Lower into Full Boat. Simply straighten your legs if knees are bent. Stay for 3 breaths.
Release into the ground and reach your hands overhead. Stretch your hands and feet in opposite directions, feeling that awesome fire roaring up your body. Sit up and fall into Seated Forward Bend. Stay for 10 breaths.
Bring your right heel against your left thigh. Keep you knee bent at 90 degrees. Raise your left arm and twist towards the right, placing the palm on your right knee. Raise your right arm overhead and fall towards your extended left foot. Twist your chest towards the ceiling. Stay for 5 breaths. You should feel a stretch in your right side body. Repeat on the other side.
Bring your feet together, heels and toes to touch. Lower your knees to the ground. If they are uncomfortable, put two blocks or books under your knees. If there is any pain in your knee, please use a prop! right hand behind you as you push your left hand against your left leg. Bring both hands to your inner thighs and twist to the left by straightening the right arm. Alternatively, bring your left hand behind your sacrum as you twist towards the left. Switch sides.
A practice like this is great to end with an inversion. Please only attempt Headstand under the supervision of a teacher. If you are not comfortable with going upside down, do Legs Up the Wall.
Lay down in Savasana for 5-7 min.
More yoga for the holidays: Power Flow for Stress Relief
Also by Caitlyn: Ethical Sex – 4 Ways to Reclaim Your Power
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Photo: Emily Gibson