Yoga Tips for a Personal Spring Clean
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Yoga Tips for a Personal Spring Clean

Spring cleaning isn’t just for the home! UMI picks the best yoga exercises to help you feel fresh and look great in time for summer.

Yoga Tips for a Personal Spring Clean

This time of year is all about rebirth: new shoots, new sprouts, new life. Many of us will take the opportunity to give our homes a spring clean, but it’s also the perfect time for something of a personal overhaul too. Yoga is the ideal way to rebalance, shape up and shed the winter lethargy. Here’s our pick of the best moves, and tips to help you get set for spring.

Banish the blues and aid digestion

Why: We tend to spend a lot of time indoors over winter. We eat more, move less and are less exposed to the sun, all of which contribute to feeling sluggish and heavy. As spring approaches, we feel the urge to shed this weight, metaphorically and physically, and this is the time when we are at our most vulnerable to coughs, colds and allergies. Lightening our food intake and kick starting the digestive system with some simple yoga moves will improve metabolism, increase blood flow and boost immunity.

How: Do the twist – twisting is an essential way to gently stimulate the internal abdominal organs to eliminate toxins and encourage healthy, energizing blood flow:

  • Spinal Twist: Lie flat on back, bend knees up slightly, and keep feet planted flat on floor and arms out to the side so the body is in a ‘T’ position. Lift feet up into the air, roughly in line with the bottom, ankles together and keeping knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeping the back, head and arms flat on the floor, slowly twist lower torso across and down to one side, knees right down to the floor, keeping ankles together. Learn to inhale as you gently allow your legs to fall to the side, and inhale as you bring them up.
  • Seated Spinal Twist: Start in seated position, legs out in front. Bend right knee up so your foot is planted flat on floor, a few inches away from your left thigh. Now, gently twist around to place right arm down on the floor behind bottom. Place your left hand down in front of your right leg so it runs parallel. You can achieve more twist by placing your right leg over the left thigh (bending the left leg at the knee and tucking it under your bottom). Hold the pose and repeat with the other side.

Drain excess fluid and support the immune system

Why: The body accumulates toxins and it’s beneficial to encourage blood flow and to assist the lymphatic system to move fluid through our lymph nodes in order to rid the body of toxins and boost our immune system.

How: get ‘upside your head’ with some simple inverted poses that encourage blood flow to internal organs and help strengthen the core and back:

  • Downward Facing Dog: The essential yoga pose, and a wonderful way to strengthen the back, tone hamstrings and encourage blood flow to essential organs. Begin on all fours, hands and knees shoulder-width apart. Curl your toes under, ready to push up and slowly raise your knees off the floor, bottom rising into the air, palms flat on the floor. The head, back and bottom should be in a straight line and, ideally, feet should be flat on the floor. Hold the pose for a few moments and come down to the knees again. You can mix things up by stretching out legs alternately, as high as possible, and holding the pose for a few moments.
  • Bridge Pose: Begin by lying on your back on the floor, bend knees slightly, planting feet flat on the floor. Now, exhale and slowly push tailbone upwards away from the floor, pushing down with soles of feet and arms. The back and bottom should be in a straight line. Arms and head should remain on the floor, chin away from the sternum. Try to stay on the shoulders and hold the pose for a few moments, then, gently come back, rolling the spine carefully back to floor.

Tone up and fight the flab

Why: As temperatures begin to soar, thoughts turn to the summer wardrobe, and whether you’re looking to get bikini-ready or simply want to shift some excess pounds, it’s natural to want to appear more outwardly toned as well as working on inner strength.

How: Dips and lifts are a great way to tone the whole body and, if done regularly, these exercises will target familiar problem areas for fast results:

  • Chair Dips: One for the upper arms. You’ll need a heavy chair for this exercise; a chair that won’t tip when you apply your weight on one side (placing the back of the chair against a wall is a good idea). Begin by sitting on the front edge of the chair, hands gripping the front edge of the seat, legs stretched out in front. Gently lift yourself off the seat, feet planted flat on ground, and edge forward so your bottom is clear of the front of the seat, and ideally aim to bend the knees to form a 90-degree angle. Arms should be stretched straight behind you, still gripping the front of the chair and keeping the back straight. As you inhale, bend your elbows and gently lower your bottom down a few inches (go as low as is comfortable but don’t strain the elbows). Come up, exhaling as you do so. Repeat five to ten times and aim for three sets of these repetitions with short rests between each set.
  • Boat pose: This will work wonders for your abs and core strength. Begin by sitting on the floor, legs out in front. Raise them up to a 45-degree angle from floor. The body should form a ‘V’ shape if viewed from the side. It’s tempting to slouch and round the back, but try to keep it straight. Raise arms out in front, level with the shoulders, and hold the pose for a minute or as long as it is comfortable. Repeat a few times. It can help to bend the knees slightly if you are unable to maintain balance.
  • Goddess pose: Great for working the thighs and buttocks. Stand with legs wide apart; about three feet is best. Heels should be turned in, feet planted firmly and evenly on floor. Gently squat down so that thighs are parallel to the ground, and knees are positioned directly above ankles. Bring arms up and out, parallel to thighs and bend elbows so they form a 90-degree angle, hands up, palms facing forward. Hold this pose for 20 seconds or so, then relax. Repeat two or three times. 


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