Are we stressed out again? Have you paid any attention to your body lately? Since you're reading this post, take the time for yourself and dedicate the next 10 minutes to try these 5 yoga poses:
Center yourself with the Sukhasana pose. Yoga depends so much on your breathing patterns. The whole point of yoga is to learn how to do the movements while being in control of your body. This may seem easy, but it takes a lot of strength to move while breathing slowly and deeply. Sit down and cross your legs and relax all the muscles in your body. Take 10 deep breaths counting 8 long seconds in and 8 seconds out. Make sure to breathe in through the nose and let the air go out of your mouth as if you are sighing. Be sure to clear your mind and take your time with this because this is the first step to relieving stress. Allow your body to just be.
The classic cat-cow pose. This pose is great for people who spend a lot of time sitting because they will be able to open up and activate their back. Take the time to feel every single vertebrae separate and expand as you are going through the pose. Start with the cow pose. get on your hands and knees and raise both the crown of your head and your tailbone to the sky as slow and controlled as possible. Feel your muscles release and keep the breathing going. Once you finish that go to the cat pose and squeeze your abdominal muscles to create a big hollow space in your upper back. Go through this sequence 10 times.
The happy baby pose! This pose is great for stretching out the lower body safely. It's a very low impact stretch that allows you to control how difficult you'd like it to be. To start the pose, lay on your back and lift your feet in the air. Reach up and hook your fingers around your big toes and pull down to feel a groin stretch. You may rock side to side to increase the stretch and you can sit in it for as long as you want.
Experience more upper back stretching with the Sphinx pose. This pose is a great pose for new yoga practitioners. It's low-impact with lots of benefit for the back. To get into this pose lay on your stomach and get on your elbows, pointing your hands straight out in front of you. Press on the floor with your arms and lift your back and the crown of the head all the way to the sky. Visualize the tension melt away from your shoulder blades and back while focusing on your breathing.
Kill two birds with one stone with the revolved triangle pose. This pose targets the hamstrings, low back and upper back while working on rotational mobility. Being able to twist is a pre-req for a healthy spine, so be sure to utilize this pose. Begin by stepping one of your feet out about 2-3 feet in front of you and get the opposite hand to touch the floor outside of your foot. If this pose is too intense, place a block on the outside of the foot and put your hand there instead. Go through this sequence about times per side.
Be sure to focus on your breathing while going through these poses! Deep cleansing breaths will make it easier for your body to move in uncomfortable positions. Always remember to take it easy on yourself and be patient with your body. The intention is better than not doing it at all!