Photo: Yoga Cures by Tara Stiles (Three Rivers Press)By Corrie Pikul
You know how it goes: the book club meeting gets raucous, or you realize you and your out-of-town friend have a lot to catch up on, or your partner decides to celebrate the unseasonably nice weather by throwing an impromptu party on the front porch (guest list: him, you, Monsieur Muscadet). Regardless of how it happened, you wake up with a pounding head, a dry mouth and a stomach that feels like it just came out of the laundry spin-cycle. Yoga instructor Tara Stiles says she has just the cure, and swears that yoga can clear your head. Stiles, who is known for her laid-back, asanas-for-the-masses approach, says that her Saturday mid-morning classes in NYC are usually packed with bleary-eyed people who overdid it the night before, and they leave her studio looking a lot happier and healthier than they did when they walked in. She shares three of her favorite morning-after poses with us, below. These are adapated from Stiles' new book, Yoga Cures, which includes her favorite yoga "remedies" for everything from office body to traveler's anxiety.
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According to yoga tradition, twisting poses are supposed to be helpful in squeezing the organs so that they expel old blood, and allow oxygenated blood to take its place. Stiles claims that twists can "literally wring out toxins from your body--alcohol included, get digestion moving, and keep the blood flow fresh." While there's no scientific research proving that this is true, there's also nothing saying that it can hurt you any more than you're already hurting--and these twists will give your back, neck and hips an excellent, restorative stretch.
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Seated Spine Twist
Come into a comfortable seated position. Hug your right knee into your chest and place your right foot on the ground across and outside your right leg. Take along, deep inhale through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Repeat this breathing pattern twice more. Inhale with your left arm straight up. As you exhale, rest your left hand on your right knee. Press your right fingertips into the ground behind your hips. Inhale and lift your torso and chest up. Exhale and twist your torso toward the right. Repeat this breathing and movement pattern twice more. Gently bring your torso back to center. Do the same thing on the other side.
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Stand on your knees with your shoulders aligned above your hips. Press your thumbs into the backs of your knees and move your calves out to the sides. Press into the ground with the tops of your feet, especially at the edges, near your pinkie toes. Sit your hips back between your legs, either on the ground or on a pillow. If you feel anything in your knees, sit up on a pillow, don't force your hips to meet the floor. Rest your shoulders above you hips and rest your palms on you thighs. Stay here for ten long, deep breaths.
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Grab your right knee with your left hand. Press your right fingertips into the ground behind your hips. Inhale and lift your torso and chest up. Exhale and twist toward your right. Repeat this breathing and movement pattern twice more. Do the same thing on the other side.
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