Doing yoga every day can be hard, especially in December when it’s cold, dark, and it’s never been two hours (two hours!) since you last ate. (Yoga on a full stomach will have you reaching for the Gaviscon.) With all the shopping dashes and after-work drinks, the wine mulling, ice-skating, and mince-pie making to be done, there’s little chance that you’ll make it to that yoga class. We’re also well into (slash already sick of) the party season, and for those planning house gatherings over the next few weekends, it might be better to get your weekend yoga practice in before the party, rather than ambitiously signing up for that 12.30 p.m. Ashtanga class on Sunday.
So how about a little home practice? Yeah I know, it sucks. There’s no sense of cleansing sanctuary, no teacher to work hard for, no one around who’ll understand your elation at finding that Crow pose. Only you and the damn mat that you bought a couple of months (years?) ago, the one that still sits propped up untouched under the stairs.
You can leave it where it is. Because as soon as you decide to maybe do a bit of yoga, everything else seems more important. Like, for instance, cleaning the house before people come over. So why not just combine the two? There’s already yoga for running, cycling, swimming, the seasons, the kids, the cats and so on. So why not yoga for cleaning? They were made for each other, I promise.
Fast Forward Bends
Obviously, a yoga class for cleaning the house will be all about forward bends (unless you’re bending over backwards trying to clean up after the kids). Forward bends are great for opening up the hamstrings, releasing the lower back, and picking stuff up off the floor. Start off the pre-party clean with a couple of padangusthasanas, or their variation, pickupangusthana:
This is the full expression of the pose, although he’s trying to pick up his toes, which is an odd choice, and he’s looking a bit far off. I’d recommend keeping the hands free and the gaze on things that are within reach, like rubber bands and pennies, rather than things that are further away, like spiritual enlightenment.
Once you’ve used pickupadangusthasana to clear the floor of most large objects, you should be warm enough to vacuum, and can introduce a few balance poses. Using the vacuum cleaner as a prop can be liberating, making even the trickier balances possible. Use it to stabilise the dancer:
Eventually once the hoovering’s done, you can dispense with the props and get comfortable in the full pose:
It’s as much about kicking back with the foot as reaching forward with the hand, and it’s this tension that’ll give you stability when you’re dusting the mantelpiece:
And finally, for those harder to reach surfaces there’s utthita padangusthasana. Or, as I call this variation, Utthita Padusting Picturasana:
Now Chill Out
Phew! That was a lot to get done! But hopefully house and body are feeling cleansed and sparkly. Before you reward your hard work with a vat of mulled wine and a small shipment of mince pies, though, be sure to end the practice with a warm-down twist. This one is mega useful if you’ve lost jewellery under the wardrobe or the cat’s pushed the remote under the sofa:
And you’re done! Now lie down on your back, sinking into the freshly hoovered floor, close your eyes and empty your mind, and breathe into a clean, calm space. Just make sure you’ve come round from savasana before the guests arrive. And then when they do, you might even be tempted to show off your new tricks. Party on!
Copyright © 2012 Galen O’Hanlon.
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