Just bookmark this for later.
Hangovers and yoga don't really go together. Or at least that seems to be the conventional wisdom (you know, what with twisting your body into a pretzel and all that downward dogging). But then there was that one time our friend dragged us to a heated vinyasa flow at some ridiculous hour one morning (after one too many beverages involving vodka) and everything changed. As in, we literally sweat it out (on the mat, in front of everyone, #noshame) and left feeling 100% better and with the kind of flush you only get from 1) Tom Ford blusher or 2) a seriously good facial. And since you've already drafted your OOOs in anticipation of heading home or on vacation, we figured you could use these do anywhere (we know, but it's true) moves from the instructors at Love Yoga—who, BTW, escaped the winter of their Montauk location to join the studio in always-sunny Venice (smart!). Which is basically the epitome of our "let's move to California and open a yoga studio" dreams that we harp on about with our friends after, um... too many beverages involving vodka.
Stirring it up from a comfortable seat
This is our favorite way to start practice and something that always feel good. If you are hungover, this is the perfect way to get everything moving. Find a comfortable cross-legged seat (we recommend sitting up on a block, blanket, pillow from the couch, etc.). Once you have your seat, close your eyes and with your hands on your knees, start to move around in a big circle. Your imagination becomes a big wooden spoon and your torso is the bowl; stir it up! You can stir wide and deep or you can make it more subtle. Experiment with different techniques. Go in one direction for 1-3 minutes and then switch. Marvel as the vertebrae in your low back magically unlock and your vital organs receive a lovely massage.
Anjanyasana to standing spinal twist
Step your right foot forward between your hands from down dog. Set your back knee down and release your toes. Lift the torso and arms up and you are in anjanyeasana. Reach both arms up and take a few breaths here. Staying upright, begin to twist to the right, reaching your arms in opposite directions, to the front and back of the room. Take 2 deep breaths, lengthening the spine here. Lean forward and hook your left elbow outside your right knee and bring your hands into prayer. For the final step, tuck your back toes and lift your back knee. Take 3 breaths in the full expression of standing spinal twist. Repeat on side 2. This is a deep and stable twist to soothe your hangover tummy.
Standing splits to Ardha Matsyendrasana/Half Seated Spinal twist
From standing, fold forward placing both hands on the mat and raising your right leg. The right hip may open to the side as you fold your torso onto your left leg. Try to line up your finger tips with your toes (or have blocks under your hands, to bring the floor to you). Take a few breaths in standing splits. On an inhale, walk your fingertips forward and look forward. On the exhale, bend the right knee and place it outside the left foot, coming to sit behind your feet. Inhale and reach the right arm up, exhale hook the elbow outside the left knee, twisting to the left. Take a few breaths here, lengthening your spine on the inhale and leveraging your twist with the contact between your elbow and knee on the exhale. Return to standing and do the second side. Standing splits flushes open the legs and gets your head beneath your heart to activate circulation. The twist helps wring out the digestive system and keep things moving.
Malasana/Yogic Squat with a twist
We love squatting, it's so good for your hips and pelvis! Take your feet about mat width apart and turn your toes out slightly. Bend both knees and settle into the squat. Bring your hands together in front of your heart and take a few deep breaths here. Extend the right arm out, wedging the shoulder in front of the knee and using that contact to twist open to the left. Extend both arms out wide. Optionally, bind the arms behind the back, interlocking your fingers or using the right hand to grab the left wrist. Come back through the center, with hands in prayer and then take the second side. Malasana is earthy and grounding, exactly what you need after a heavy night of drinking. The twisting helps to massage the digestive system and deepen the hip opening.
Pigeon as a back bend and twist
From down dog, reach your right leg up and then lay it across the front of your mat with the right knee off to its own side and your shin at a 45 degree angle. Walk your fingertips back alongside your hips and take a few breaths upright in the pigeon prep. Take your left hand to your right knee, and twist to the right, gazing over the right shoulder. Take a few breaths. Come back to the center and then lift your heart and bend your back knee coming into a beautiful backbend. Release gently and switch sides. Pigeon is the ultimate hip opener and should help alleviate pressure in the lower body. The backbend is light and fun, to lift you out of the dark places the hungover mind can sink into.
Plank to Vasithasana/side plank as a back bend
From plank, roll onto the outside edge your right foot and your right hand. Step your left foot behind you. landing lightly on the ball of your foot while you reach your left arm forward. Press the hip points up and take a few breaths in this luscious, feminine back bend. Roll back through the center and take the second side. Plank reminds us of our stability and strength. Side plank allows us to connect to the earth through different parts of the body and find mental and physical stability within the ever-changing landscape. The back bend here opens the windows and lets the lungs fill, helping to blow away that hangover mood.