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New Year Yoga
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Top 5 yoga poses for the new year

Release last year’s experiences to make way for future ones!

Last week, we started our intentions practice. Identifying the things that matter most to us and aligning our mind sets so that we are totally focused in achieving them. What was yours for January? This week, it’s time for new year yoga! Release last year’s experiences by releasing tension and stress in the hip area.

I’ve designed a yoga flow to build strength in the arms, shoulders and quads; and RELEASE tension in the hips, the PSOAS and the pelvis. Did you know that we store all the negative emotions, anxieties and experiences in our hips? Sometimes when we’re experiencing tightness, it’s not just from lifestyle choices (over-exercise, under-exercise, too much sitting, bone structure, whatever), it’s from how we’re storing our emotions.

“I fractured my hip when I was 13. It was months of repair and sitting and doing nothing. With three years of yoga, my hips have never been more open, and I have never been so peaceful, so happy and so full of love.”

So opening the hips can bring a rush or release of emotions, which is why we sometimes feel… DIFFERENT after a class! It’s why Yin Yoga can be a huge challenge for some, if they’re not ready yet to experience these emotions. If this does happen to you in a class, be it in dynamic or static yoga (e.g. Vinyasa or Yin), try not to compartmentalise them. Just acknowledge and let go.

Let’s get to this week’s asanas to release and clear your mind, so you are ready to take on this beautiful and exciting year.

Release the outer thighs with Firelog pose

Release the lower back in firelog pose
Release the lower back in firelog pose

Agnistambhasana in Sanskrit, ‘agni’ meaning ‘fire’ or ‘ignite’, and ‘stambh’ = ‘log’ or ‘statue’.

This pose promotes symmetry of the hips and stability to the whole of the body and the mind.

Start in an easy cross legged seat by placing one leg in front of the other, making a triangle shape with your legs, and bringing your shins as parallel with the front of your mat as is comfortable. You can stay here or stack the shins, right ankle on top of the left knee. Stay here for a few breaths then switch the feet.


To add movement, you can start to move in circles with your torso, not unlike the tummy rolls of my Yoga for Energy post, or you can fold, starting with a forward fold. Reach your arms in front of you on your mat and start to walk forwards as far as is comfortable for you. Pull the belly in and reach up and over, if you want to go deeper. Engage the pelvic floor and try and keep the sitting bones and hips grounded. This should increase the stretch in the lower back and outer thighs.

You can also add a side stretch. From your forward fold, inhale to lift the head and elbows and exhale to walk the hands to the right. Either keeping the hands parallel to each other or placing the left hand over the right to experience a deeper stretch on the side body. Again, engage the pelvic floor and keep the sitting bones grounded.

Release emotional baggage with Lizard pose

lizard pose
Stretch the PSOAS in lizard pose

In Sanskrit, Utthan Pristhasana meaning ‘uttan’ to ‘stretch deep out’ and ‘pristha’ the back of the body’, and makes the shapes of a deep stretching lizard!

Lizard is a super pose to…

  • Increase range of motion in the hip flexors, and pelvic and leg muscles!
  • Stretch the back!
  • Strengthen your arms!

When I started yoga, this pose was A STRUGGLE! I much preferred pigeon pose because my weak lil arms struggled so much to hold myself up – BUT – it gets better! Your shoulders and forearms WILL get stronger and now it’s honestly one of my favourites and there are so many variations that you can do.

Start in downward facing dog, lift your right leg straight up then crunch the knee towards your right elbow. Place the foot on the outside of your hand and lower your left knee down to the ground. Take a moment to assess how you’re feeling. Does the left knee need to go back further? I often do but that doesn’t mean that you do! Aim to keep the right knee above the ankle, avoiding the knee going forward and past it. In this variation, I try to keep the right knee next to my right shoulder, as I’m aiming to stretch the front of the hips and pelvic muscles.

Options! There are so many in lizard, here are just two:

  • Keep both palms flat on the mat or come down onto the forearms OR a block. Another block or two can also be used to rest your forehead.
  • Be dynamic! You bounce the hips down and up or move in circles.

Switch sides by tucking your left toes, straightening the left knee and lifting the right foot off the floor and back to downward facing dog. You may want to take a few breaths in down dog or move the hips in from side-to-side before continuing to the left side.

Open up to new relationships and experiences in Warrior I with Eagle arms

Challenge your balance in Warrior I, Eagle arms
Challenge your balance in Warrior I, Eagle arms

So this is kind of a hybrid pose, taking the base from Warrior I, Virabhadrasana A, and the arms from Garudasana, eagle pose. If you are not familiar with this arm position, give it a practice sat on your mat or from standing before you get into Warrior, as it is a challenging balance!

  • Strengthen the quads and tone the legs!
  • Stretch the hamstrings (Warrior) and upper back, shoulders and wrists (Eagle) and engage the hip flexors and lower abs!
  • Build confidence and power

Starting again from downward facing dog, lift the right leg straight up then crunch the knee to nose and place the foot in the centre of your mat, between your feet if possible. This crunch is hard when we start yoga – or if we are tired! – so allow yourself some help! Use your hand to drag your foot a little further forward if you feel you want to go deeper.

When you have your balance, rise up, stacking the right knee above the ankle and the back leg straight and strong. I usually teach to keep the left toes directing to the front of the mat, so the heel will be lifted and the hips are totally square with the front of the mat, as I think this is so beneficial for deepening the PSOAS stretch. If you prefer, you can spin your left heel 45 degrees for a more traditional Warrior I.


Lift both arms up to the sky following your fingertips with your gaze, then open your arms out to a T. I usually go opposite arms in Eagle poses, so wrap your left arm over your right once or twice, roll the shoulders back and the shoulder blades together in the centre of your back and lift up with the hands. Find a dristi (a focal point) to stare at, helping you to keep focus and balance. Keep breathing!

Hold the pose (not the breath!) for up to 5 breaths then release the arms again out to a T or a cactus shape, then reach the arms up on an inhale and down to the mat on an exhale, stepping back to downward facing dog or plank, ready to start the pose again on the other side.

Look to the future in 3-Legged Dog (stacked hips variation)

Stretch and open the hips in 3 legged dog
Stretch and open the hips in 3 legged dog

In Sanskrit, Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana meaning adho (downward) mukha (face) śvāna (dog), and has many variations from square hips to stacked. This asymmetrical variation stacks the hips, opening the pelvis wide to the long edge of the mat and stretches out the back and sides of the body. It’s often used as a preparatory hip-opening pose or a transition pose into advanced asanas like wild thing or wheel!

This pose is great for:

  • Opening the hips and stretching the PSOAS and pelvic muscles!
  • Building strength in the arms and shoulders, glutes and core!
  • Creating energy as it is an inversion and can help to remove energy blocks in the body!

Start in downward facing dog, lift the right leg straight up then bend and lift the knee up, up, UP; stacking the right hip above the left as high as you can! Try and keep the shoulders symmetrical and PUSH with your hands, pushing the mat away from you! Look under your left armpit, trying to see your toes.

After a few breaths, bring the right foot down and move hips left and right, checking in with your wrists before you continue to the left side. This is a strenuous pose for the wrist – there’s a lot of weight going down into them! – so if you need to take a moment in child’s pose before carrying on, you do that!

Relax, forgive and love yourself in Wide-Legged Straddle pose

Stretch it out in Upavista Konasana
Stretch it out in Upavista Konasana

From the Sanskrit, Upavistha Konasana translates as ‘upavsitha’ meaning ‘seated’ and ‘kona’ meaning angle, so seated wide-angled pose! This pose can take a real long time, so please be patient with your body and your practice. You are doing great.

“For such a long time, I felt like I was getting NOWHERE with this pose. I thought maybe it was just one of those poses I would never be able to do, what with my dodgy hips history and general inactivity. BUT look at me now! I now practice NOT touching the floor, using my hip flexors to keep me lifted as I just sink down now. And it was really just one day that I realised, WOW, look where I am! Practice, practice and all is coming, as they say, with patience and love.”

From any seated position, open your legs out wide as you can. If you wanna get a little wider, plant your palms and scoot your bum forwards, keeping the thighs pointing up to the sky and the feet engaged and flexed. Slight anterior tilt (forwards) with the pelvis.

From here, you can either go straight into the pose, walking your hands forwards until you’re as far as you can go. Try and keep the back straight so that your tummy will be the first thing to touch the floor on the FATEFUL DAY when you touch down. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe in ten years!


Another option is to go for some side stretches first! Or you can move in circles, like we did in Firelog, getting more range of motion in the hips and lower back.

Allow yourself to be supported with blocks, bolsters or stability balls. You can make a stack of these, or use a stability ball, to give your body the caring support to fold safely and securely. When we are supported, our bodies relax, allowing you to go further! A tense body is a tight body.

I hope these poses help you to release and let go of whatever you having been holding onto from last year. Maybe resentment from a work change or memories of a class that didn’t go well or to plan. Maybe disappointment from plans that didn’t happen as a result of covid or financial or personal reasons. Maybe anguish that dates back even further than that.

Let go of the past and look forward to the future!


Lollicorn xxx


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