As we rush around during the holidays, the New Year brings with it a chance to renew, recharge, and refresh. Jill Miller, creative force behind Yoga Tune Up®, offers the following 5 tips start each day in 2011 healthier, calmer, and transformed!

Transform Mind and Body in the New Year

1. Start with a commitment to get to know yourself better.

Whether your resolution is weight loss, toning, or stress-reduction, aim for the bigger goal of befriending yourself in the process. In Yoga Tune Up®, we create a short positive statement called a “Sankalpa” to help us with that mission. Try this for a while and feel how it helps your yoga or fitness practice. “I am a student of my body.” Whisper it to yourself before you begin, several times during, and at the end. It will open your mind to possibilities of growth and discovery.

2. Watch your body breathe.

One of the easiest ways to calm down your mind, and shut off the static is to close your eyes and tune in to the way the body breathes. This simple meditation is portable, free, and accessible everywhere and anywhere YOU are!

3. Touch your body everywhere, everyday.

It sounds kinky, but it fulfills a basic human need. Think about it, animals, babies and kids have it all figured out…they don’t compartmentalize touch the way adults do. Adults shake hands, maybe give each other a hug or peck on the cheek, and they are full of aches and pains! Kids and animals tumble all over each other, have a blast, and then find another playmate and do it all over again! Simulate that stimulation by briskly scrubbing your hands all over all your limbs, your belly, and your scalp. If your back is “out of reach,” then rub it on your sofa’s arm-rest, or better yet, use a pair of my Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls to get into the nooks and crannies where you’ve stopped moving! http://www.yogatuneup.com/products/self-massage-therapy-balls

4. Stand in “Poise” 3 times a day.

Poise is Yoga Tune Up®’s version of “Tadasana” or the classic “Mountain Pose.” It boils down to your basic efficient upright standing posture. It is such a simple thing to do, but most people do not stand on their own two feet…they lean onto one hip, or stand with one foot pointed out, or with their shoulders slumped and head hanging forward. You basic POISE says EVERYTHING about you as a leader, and a centered individual. Try centering yourself by lengthening your spine, and balancing your skull over your ribcage, your ribcage over your pelvis, your pelvis over your knees, and your knees over your feet. Become a pillar of strength from within!

5. A Daily Dose of Leg Stretch #3 at the Wall.

An “ALL-IN-ONE” Yoga Tune Up® Pose. This pose is unmatched for decompressing the lower back, unravelling tight hamstrings and Iliotibial Bands, loosening gobs of tension in the outer buttocks, and giving you a “spiritual time-out!”

To get the maximum benefits attempt to follow the directions precisely. The better your alignment, the better you’ll feel! Position yourself on your back, in a corner by two walls. Have a yoga brick (which can be substituted with a book or even a water bottle) at hand.

· Lay on your right side facing wall No. 1 with your outstretched right arm plus the brick touching wall No. 1. Both feet are planted on wall No. 2.

· Cross the left leg to firmly anchor into wall No. 1, and press right arm and brick into wall No. 1 as well.

· The sole of the right foot still presses against wall No. 2.

· The left arm and torso rotate away from wall No. 1 to induce a deep spinal twist.

· Increase the stretch in the outer left buttocks, hamstrings and IT band by shifting the left sit bone and buttock toward wall No. 2.

· Increase the stretch through the upper back and chest by firmly pressing your right arm into the brick, and feel the stretch thread through the collar bones as you increase your twist.

· Occasionally emphasize the twist by compressing the abdominals.

· Be patient and breathe deeply into the abdomen and lower back.

· Do not tense the jaw or eyes. Do not be aggressive or put your leg into intolerable pain. Move progressively and with awareness.

· After 90 seconds to two minutes, switch sides.

*This article and image were provided by Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up®. For more information about Yoga Tune Up®, visit www.yogatuneup.com.*