6 Yoga Poses to Stop That Hangover in its Tracks
We get it. The New Year's Eve party is the grand finale of a month of indulgence before you return to reality, and sometimes that leads to a few extra cocktails or glasses of bubbly. If all that fun has your head screaming at you the morning after the countdown reaches midnight, a little TLC is just what your body needs.
We reached out to local yoga pros for some practical poses to help knock out that hangover so you can skip the dubious fixes* and get on with your New Year's detoxing without so much as a hiccup.
"First of all, when you have a hangover it is very difficult to get out of bed," admits Kate Holly, director of Montavilla's Yoga Refuge. "So you can do these poses either in bed or on the floor." Bill Wyland, co-owner of Sellwood Yoga and Align Integrative Wellness Centers reminds us we "don’t even need a yoga mat, just some blankets and wall space" and also recommends adding calming essential oils, an ice pack, and something to cover your eyes to make your recovery practice even more calming.
RECLINING SPINAL TWIST (SUPTA Matsyendrasana)
The Why: "If you’re hungover and going to recover through yoga you might as well start out by getting rid of everything and wring out the internal organs of the body or everything from the night before while you’re at it," advises Wyland. According to Holly, this pose is great for supporting digestion and organ health, and can be done in bed before you even get up!
The How: Lie on your back and hug both knees into your chest. Release your legs over to your right side until they relax onto the ground, or you can put a pillow between your knees for additional comfort. Extend your left arm out to your left side until it also rests on the ground—if it does not reach, you can put a stack of blankets underneath your arm. Breath into your back, and rest for 1-3 minutes before switching to the other side.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
The Why: After detoxing the internal organs in a spinal twist, you can move to a pose where you calm the mind and stomach. Focus on deep breathing to stimulate the circulatory system. Holly also suggests this pose is great for grounding you if you have a headache or feel dizzy. Wyland suggests adding the mantra “So Hum” (So="I am" Hum=“that”)...and contemplate the meaning of your late night.
The How: From hands and knees, rest your hips back to your heels and rest your head on the ground. Extend your arms forward or fold them and use them as a pillow for your forehead. You can tuck a bolster or pillow underneath your head and torso, or add a rolled up blanket between your hips and heels for maximum comfort. Rest on your forehead or cheek and breathe deeply for 3-5 minutes.
SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (SUPINE BOUND ANGLE POSE)
The Why: This hip opener stimulates your abdominal organs and improves mobility in digestive organs, prepping you for that killer recovery brunch you're about to make.
The How: Lie down with a pillow or bolster supporting your head, and perhaps rolled up blankets for under your knees. Bring the soles of the feet together and let the knees open out until they rest on the support of the blankets. Focus on taking deep breath into the belly, which will help soothe stomach aches. You can close your eyes and just focus on your breath for 3-5 minutes here.
Legs up the wall (Vipariti Karani)
The Why: Now that you’ve come to terms with your existence in life in a hungover state you can rest again. This time with your legs resting up the wall. If you’re hungover, it was likely a long day and night on your feet. Dancing, walking in heels to the next party (just a little few more blocks away), or whatever it was you were doing that seemed like a great idea a few hours ago feels a little less now on your body. This pose lets the legs and body relax. If you have an eye pillow you can cover your eyes, add an essential oil to clean out the “unique" smells of the night before in your nasal passages and even rest an ice pack on your forehead.
The How: Lie on your back next to a wall, and pivot to extend your legs up against the wall. Inch your way forward until your tailbone is as close to the wall as you can get it while still comfortably releasing your low back into the floor. This is a simple pose that can be done without props, or for additional comfort you can put a folded blanket under your hips, or tie a strap around your legs to keep them bound together while they relax.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The Why and How: When in doubt, go back to bed. Lie back down on your back, stretch out both arms and legs and relax in the traditional finishing resting pose of yoga. You don’t have to do anything but relax.
If you fall back asleep, even better. You’ll feel great doing nothing but laying still.
The Why: According to Wyland, this pose "pays proper respect and provides finality to the gift from Lord Hangover."
The How: Come out of Savasana to sit in a comfortable seated position and bring your hands together into prayer position (anjali mudra). Take a moment to give thanks to how your yoga practice has helped you feel better and pay your respects to the deity of moderation, may they look over you a little better on the path next time.
*Some of the craziest hangover "cures" we've heard: Sex. A prairie oyster (raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and ground black pepper). Coconut water with EmergenC. Sausage McMuffins. Two Sausage McMuffins. Milkshakes. And speaking of dubious remedies, hair of the dog only dulls your senses—and makes you feel worse in another few hours.