Yoga, A Hangover Helper?
I'm often at the deli in the morning after a night of wellâ€¦having one too many. I peruse the countertop looking at all of the salty snacks, chocolates, sometimes fruit, cigarettes, and whatever else is in the bodega (say it with me now bo-de-ga). The only thing I can never seem to find but is always in my face is a healthy and a (not so) nutritious hangover pill. I asked myself this question, "Why can I not find this?" and the answer hit me right away, it doesn't exist.
After this happens, I usually ask my co-workers (or as I like to call them; comrades) for their input. Each one is something in the realm of sprite and ginger snaps, seltzer, coffee, fruit, listening to The Rolling Stones, and other intriguing options. Somehow though, none of them seem to really work.
At this point, I am in an almost coma state. There is nothing I can drink or eat to cure this hangover. My eyes are drooping down, my lips dry, and my head weighing 10 pounds. The only thing in sight (believe it or not) is a yoga mat, my 2 monitors, a glass of fresh seltzer, and okâ€¦The Rolling Stones in my headphones. Im sitting at my desk thinking "Maybe its not what you eat, drink, or listen to, but your basic ebb and flow of the body that can cure the hangover."
Yoga as a whole is supposed to make your body feel great, flexible, and free. Does this mean it can cure a hangover? Yes. "We do feel that yoga reduces stress and has health benefits," says Dr. Debbie L. Cohen, a kidney specialist at University of Pennsylvania who is also studying yoga as an alternative to medication to lower high blood pressure. I think we are on to something here. From another study, Susan Orem who is a yoga teacher in New York City, says that a brief 20 to 30 minute yoga sequence that includes sun salutations, along with a few good twists and restorative poses, may well bring relief. "It's important to remain 'mindful' on the yoga mat," says Orem "focusing on your breathing and the poses without projecting what's going to happen after or regretting what you did to arrive here in this condition."
Now it really dawns on me that, yes, yoga is the answer to a hangover.
I am intrigued, interested, and eager to get rid of this hangover. After my research, I find great poses. First I start in the upward salute pose, extend my legs into a lunge, extend my arms into a urdhva tadasana, somehow finagle my way into a standing forward bend pose, and wrap it up back into the upward solute (or mountain pose). After some singular practice, my co-worker and NY based AcroYoga teacher Greg Franklin and I decided to do some acro-yoga as you can see in the bird (or free bird) pose here.
This is as recommended by Dr. Debbie L. Cohen, a very light practice. I look terrible, but feel great. My headache is gone, my eyes are less droopy, my mouth is not as dry, and The Rolling Stones are still onâ€¦but thats OK.
Since Susan Orem brought up that breathing techniques help, I think we can turn our head to our friend Kia Miller, a master breather. For one last minute tip, here is a video of Kia Miller giving a quick breathing exercise.
Now you are probably asking, if you are still reading this, "Well Jake, did the sun salutations, urdhva tadasana, and breathing techniques help?". The simple answer, yes. It helped because as proven to me, yoga opens your body and clears your head like nothing else.