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If you tipped back too many drinks last night, the last thing you feel like doing is rolling out your yoga mat. But you should. A little yoga can go a long way to minimize suffering and speed the recovery process. Promise.
Try these gentle yoga poses for a hangover from Boulder, Colorado-based yoga teacher Gina Caputo, aka the Yogini On The Loose, who is committed to folding all of life’s experiences into her yoga practice. And the next time a happy hour gets too happy, be sure slow your pace a bit, alternating between an alcoholic drink and a glass of water, and eating while you drink, Caputo says.
Corpse Pose (Savasana) with a block variation
Let’s face it. When you’ve really tied one on, you tend to sleep horribly—either fitfully, moving around a lot, or collapsed in an awkward position, hardly move at all. Either way you may wake up with a stiff neck.
Start lying on your back with a block under your head. Close your eyes and begin to turn your head side to side as if you were slowly saying “Noooooo” (as in, “I’m never drinking again, NOOOOO WAY.”) The long edge of the block will be under the base of your skull as you roll your head side to side, giving a gentle massage to these muscles. Keeping your eyes closed also helps relax these sub-occipital muscles since they are connected to eye movements.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose not only allows you to close your eyes again but also gently compresses your abdomen to stimulate peristalsis and enhances the circulation of lymph, one of your body’s main methods for removing metabolic waste products.
After you’ve rolled off to one side, come onto hands and knees to rest your aching head in Child’s Pose. Close your eyes and relax your head on your stacked hands, the floor, a block, or a blanket.
See also8 Detoxifying Kundalini Poses
Moving activates your cardiovascular system which effects blood flow and that change helps your body restore itself and process the alcohol and its by-products. But when you’re hungover, you just don’t want to move.
So start with Cat-Cow, a simple and gentle movement with deep breaths. Each cycle feels as if you’re getting a little spinal flush – you’ll activate and stretch the muscles of both your abdomen and back and start to move this hangover out.
Revolved Garland Pose (Parivrtta Malasana)
Squatting in Malasana will help you evacuate your bowels as well as gently compress your liver, which may encourage it along in its cleansing process.
Adding a twist to each side gives the feeling that you’re wringing out your kidneys for purification.
Supported Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)
This pose will help stretch your back muscles and soothe your headache. It’s a cooling pose to balance the heated state your body is in after excess alcohol consumption.
Drop down onto your seat and extend your legs out into a wide V. Grab a block or two or a bolster if you have one and place it between your outstretched legs. From here, fold forward and stack your props until you can rest your forehead on them without strain. Add blankets or pillows as needed to fill the gap.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supported Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose will facilitate deep breathing, which serves the dual purpose of relaxing you mind and your muscles as well as oxygenating your system.
Come back up to seated and move your props behind you. Align them lengthwise with your spine, making sure you have support for the back of your head. Lay back so that you’re in a supported backbend and extend your arms out wide, with palms up. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop out to the sides.
See alsoWatch + Learn: Bound Angle Pose
About Gina Caputo
Gina Caputo is the Yogini On The Loose and is committed to folding all of life’s experiences into her yoga practice. She’s based in Boulder, Colorado where she directs the Colorado School of Yoga. Find her at ginacaputo.com