Yesterday was the winter solstice. You may have participated in 108 sun salutations, or you might have had a normal active weekend and are feeling tight and sore today. Whatever you did this weekend, but especially if it was 108 sun salutations I recommend you pause to take care of yourself. Personally I'm feeling surprisingly energized as I was wide awake at 4am, but I do feel tight.
Here are my top 4 tips for recovery after a yoga mala.
1) Take an epsom salt bath in very warm water: I've never seen any scientific data that will make your soreness go away by taking an epsom salt bath. That said a long hot soak is good for the soul and it gives me temporary relief and just plain feels good. Not to mention it can help you with number 3! Go soak it up!
2) Drink Lots of water: When you exercise your body builds up lactic acid and you've gotta flush it out and the toxins that came with it. It's impossible to flush your system if you don't drink water. Drink up!
3) Spend 10 minutes or more in meditation: Did you feel a storm of emotions brewing as you took your body through a long moving meditation yesterday? Did you run right out of class to grab a cup of coffee before finishing your christmas shopping or did you go spend a little time in reflection or meditation? Yoga helps strip things down to the bare bones and brings us to the core of our beings. If you haven't spent time reflecting on what you did yesterday I recommend you do today. You might have missed some feelings moving just below the surface that need a little extra nudge, give yourself time to feel and explore.
4) More Yoga! Yes you read that right. Get back on your mat! One of the first things I learned in yoga teacher training is "The best cure for sore from yoga is more yoga". You need to move. Try a few sun salutations, childs pose, downward facing dog, or twisting. It doesn't really matter, just get on your mat, explore and see where it takes you. It doesn't have to be another 108, but move! It will help the muscles as they repair and rebuild from yesterday. If you need inspiration here are a few past posts that might help, post 1 and post 2.
Now go mark your calendar for the solstices in 2015 because we will be practicing more malas on those days too!
"Relief, exhaustion, sadness, frustration, thankfulness, excitement about what's next, the feelings of failure and loss, contentment knowing that the studio and it's legacy are in really good hands. All of those things. All at once."