‘Hangover’ is the trifecta in my blogs for the Christmas / New Year 2015 festive season, the previous topics were digestion and jet lag. The last time I had a hangover I was in high school so I needed to do some research into the subject. Please do not visualise me lying in a gutter (on my favourite pink yoga mat) and slurry AUM’s in the name of research… I consulted a senior teacher, Tracey as my imagination stopped at the forward bend with the forehead supported. It appears there is more to this sequence that meets eye. If you do decide to practice yoga do it slowly, be gentle with yourself, learn from the experience and move on. The aim of the practice is to let go of the toxic thoughts, release toxins from the body – by doing twisting poses. The main points:
- Hydration, hydration, hydration (if the headache persists 2 paracetamol is also useful and some rehydration salts).
- Due to the acid in the alcohol your joints might have tightened. Loosen up your joints, move your head side to side, stretch and flex your toes and fingers, rotate the ankles and the wrist in both directions, open the hips.
- Avoid inversions, especially if you if you are experiencing nausea, heartburn or indigestion.
- Spinal twists will help to release the toxins from the liver.
- Abdominal pose like Navasana (Boat) will help indigestion and gas).
- When you do forward bends rest the forehead either on the floor, on a block or even on a chair as I demonstrated in the “jet lag” blog. Forward bends calm the brain.
Suggested sequence: Lay down in Savasana with the head higher than chest, chest higher than pelvis (i.e. sit in front rolled up blanket or bolster, slowly lay back so your spine is supported, use a folded up blanket or towel under your head.) Turn your neck slowly from side to side, co-ordinate with your breath.
- Keep your arms resting on the floor, slightly away from your torso, palms facing up. As you inhale bend the arms, leaving the elbows on the floor. Start rotating the wrists, then extend the fingers then make a fist.
- Feet approx. hip width apart, bring the big toes to touch. Start rotating the ankles away from each other. Do a few cycles and reverse the direction.
Rollover to your right side and come up to standing and do the following standing poses,
- Parivritta Trikonasana (revolving triangle)
- Parivritta Parsvakonasana (revolving side angle pose)
Sitting twist, such as Maricyasana, do the open version, one leg bent, elbow to inside of the knee. Sit on the edge of a folded up blanket, sit up tall, if you need use a block behind your spine. Sit in Badha Konasana (cobbler pose) to release the hips. Forwards bend with the head supported on a chair (Pachimottanasana or Janu sirsana).
Savasana or modified Viparita Karini with calves resting on the seat of the chair.
The success of all these poses or the need for it will depend on the size of the hangover. You will probably not feel great while doing the yoga (your joints might hurt) and backbends could make you feel sick if your liver is really put out. A good night’s sleep and an alcohol free day just for good measure will help with your recovery. You might want to experience with essential oils on your eye bag or on Kleenex tissues under your forehead (try lavender or peppermint). Enjoy NY Eve and the rest of 2015! Mary