Fitness

Start the New Year Off Right with These 5 Gratitude-Building Yoga Moves

January 6, 2016

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Start the new year with presence and an open heart, giving gratitude for yet another year of being alive. These five yoga poses can help you feel more grounded, allowing yourself to feel the connection between your mind, body and soul in preparation for your best year yet.

#1 Tree Pose: Vrksasana

Tree pose can help you find your stillness. Keep one foot grounded with the Earth, while you lift the opposite knee toward your chest. Open the hip and place the bottom of your foot either above or below the knee, on the inner thigh or above the ankle. Place your palms together in front of you. For a challenge, press the palms together as they lift above your head. Find your balance and breathe. Become one with the trees.

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#2 Camel Pose: Ustrasana

Camel pose can open your heart to your true emotions so that you may fully experience this new year. Keeping your knees at hips’ distance apart and palms pressed together slowly lift your spine up the sky and push the shoulders back. Slowly lower back at your own comfort level. If comfortable, release your hands to catch your ankles. For a challenge, bend one knee and tuck underneath the armpit. Continue lifting the chest to the sky and breathe into your heart. Allow yourself to feel.

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#3 Dancer’s Pose: Natarajasana

Dancer’s pose can help you find balance. Firmly plant one foot on the ground as you reach back the opposite arm to grab the opposite leg. Keeping grounded, gently lift up to the sky, pushing the foot into the hand, while also leaning forward. Eventually you will find balance through your slow, deep breathing. Keep calm and balanced into the New Year.

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#4 Upward Bow/Wheel Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana

Upward bow/wheel pose can help you connect your mind and body. Laying flat on your back, keep your knees bent, with feet firmly grounded. Bring your palms firmly on the ground above your shoulders and next to your ears. Gently lift up through your body to get the crown of your head flat on the ground. Slowly lift up from the chest to your comfort level. Allow yourself to fully experience the moment you are in, with your mind and body.

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#5 Headstand Poses: Salamba Sirsasana

Inversion variations (if they’re in your practice), can help energize and change your perspective. Clasp your fingers together making a nest for your head on the ground. Keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, slowly bring the crown of your head into your clasped hands. You may either lift up with knees bent or straight, depending on level of practice. Very slowly lift your legs up to the sky, using your core and breath. Allow your blood flow to move throughout your body as you energize and prepare for the year ahead. If you’d like a challenge, you may try a handstand (pictured), which may provide similar benefits.

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Aerial is wearing the Chi Top in White, Blissful Sharkbite in Grey Heather and High Rise Chaturanga Tight in Spacedye.

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What’s your New Year’s intention? Whether it’s practicing more gratitude, training for a 5K or simply getting outdoors, the best way to stay accountable is to enlist the help of your community. So snap a pic, write it down, tag your friends and show us on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #PowerofIntentions. You could win a $500 Athleta Shop Card!

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