After a summer of sun, sea and too much rose, September is a time for looking forward; for recalibrating and setting your intentions for the season ahead.
Here, ELLE UK's Contributing Fitness Editor, yoga teacher Fern Ross, shares a short energising sequence you can do at home (or in the middle of the office, if your boss is really forward-thinking) to reset, refocus and renew.
Give it a go, and let us know how you feel afterwards…
1. Sukhasana with meditation
Come to sit in a comfortable position with the legs crossed at the shins (if this is uncomfortable, try kneeling or sitting on a cushion or two).
Close your eyes, sit tall with a straight spine, and connect in with your breath for a few minutes.
Scan the body, then take your awareness to what's going on in your head.
Don't let the word mediation put you off. Even as a yoga teacher, I find meditation intimidating.
But it's not about sitting there serenely and having a completely empty, peaceful mind.
Instead, think of meditation as a tool to help you reconnect with what's going on within and give you a bit of headspace.
We all have a million thoughts running through our heads at all times, but try to think of them like clouds: watch them pass then refocus on your breath and take a moment to slow down and just 'be'.
Don't let yourself get caught up in your mental to-do list or what you have or haven't achieved. Be present and stay here for as long as feels comfortable.
2. High crescent lunge
From Downward Dog, step the right foot forward between the hands, hip-width apart.
Keep the left heel lifted, so you're on the ball of the left foot.
Raise the arms overhead, shoulder-width apart, palms facing towards one another.
Make sure the front knee is stacked directly on top of the ankle and isn't rolling in or out.
Draw navel to spine and soften the tailbone and shoulders. Focus your gaze and hold for 5 breaths.
3. Parsvakonasana, Revolved extended side angle
From high lunge (right-hand side first), draw the hands into prayer at heart centre, then hook the left elbow on the outside edge of the right thigh, coming into a prayer twist.
Draw navel to spine and try and lengthen, then rotate, from the navel up towards the crown of the head.
Keep the legs toned and core engaged. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat high lunge and parsvakonasana on left side.
4. Virabhadrasana, Warrior 2
From Downward Dog, step the feet together, then take a big step forward with the right leg, placing the foot between the hands.
Spin the left foot flat so it's at a 45-degree angle and the heel of the right foot is in line with the arch of the left.
Use the left arm to draw you up to Warrior Two. Your stance should be long and wide, and it should feel as if you're tearing the mat in half with your feet.
Make sure the front knee is stacked directly over the ankle, and soften the shoulders.
Take your gaze to the middle finger on your right hand and hold.
Hold for 5-10 breaths and notice the sensations and emotions arising here.
Do you feel more determined, more powerful? See if you can carry this with you off the mat.
5. Reverse warrior
From Warrior 2, reach forward with the right hand and flip the hand palm side up, then reach up and over.
Think about lifting and lengthening the spine, and be mindful of your lower back.
Allow yourself to breath deeply and fully here and feel your energy levels rising.
Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat Warrior 2 and Reverse Warrior on the left-hand side.
6. Utkatasana, Chair pose
Chair pose is the asana I love to hate.
Yes, it makes your thighs and glutes and well, everything burn, but it's impossible not to feel stronger and more empowered after doing it.
From a standing position at the top of your mat, sink your hips back and try to stack your knees over your ankles, or as close to that as you can get them (you should be able to see your toes).
Draw the navel to the spine, sweep the arms up and overhead and keep them shoulder-width apart.
Soften the shoulders down and away from the ears, keep your gaze forward and sink a bit deeper.
Hold for 5-10 breaths and try to breath through any discomfort with a smile.
Learning to stay strong and steady in uncomfortable situations is another great lesson to take off the mat.
7. Vrksasana, Tree pose
From standing, start shifting all your weight into your right leg, picking up the left.
Bring the sole of the left foot to either the right calf or inner thigh.
Press the foot into the leg and the leg into the foot to stay steady.
Stay strong in your supporting leg and keep your gaze focused on an unmoving point.
Bring the hands into prayer in heart centre (anjali mudra) and hold for 5 breaths before switching sides.
8. Malasana squat
Step the feet as wide as your mat and turn the toes out to 45 degrees.
Bring the hands into prayer at heart centre, then start to sink down into a wide-legged squat.
Soften the tailbone and allow the lower back to lengthen and hips open.
Keep breathing deeply, assisting the release of any tension. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
9. Urdhva Dhanurasana, Full wheel
Close your practice with an energising, invigorating backbend.
Start in bridge: lying on your back, walk your feet as close to your glutes as you can get them.
Bring the arms alongside you palm side down.
Press into the arms and feet as you draw navel to spine and peel the spine off the mat one vertebrae at a time, sending the hips high.
Hold for 5 breaths then lower slowly and pause, allowing yourself to digest the backbend and any sensations that arise.
Option to take another round of bridge or, if you have full wheel in your practice, bring the hands to either side of the crown of your head, inhale up on to the crown of your head and exhale up as you straighten the arms and press into full wheel.
Hold either option for 5 breaths, then lower down with control.
Extend the legs out to the edges of your mat, bring the arms alongside you palm side up, close the eyes, and allow yourself to be still for 2-5 minutes, letting the benefits of the practice sink in. Namaste.
Fern Ross teaches yoga across London. For more information, go to fernrossyoga.co.uk
This story was first published on ELLEUK.com.
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