Yoga connects the body, mind, and spirit. Whether you’re on tight deadlines at work, have a never-ending list of errands to run, or family matters to deal with, sometimes the connection gets lost and you find yourself stressed. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up, and breathe.
Asphalt Green yoga instructor Susanne Chakan shares stress-relieving yoga poses you can do anywhere. Next time you feel your mind racing faster than you can think, stop what you’re doing, and take 15 minutes to practice yoga.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Known as the resting position, child's pose is a simple way to calm your mind and restore peace in the body.
- Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees apart, keeping your big toes touching. Rest your buttocks on your heels.
- Exhale, and fold your body forward, keeping your spine in a straight, neutral position (do not hunch).
- Rest your torso between your thighs and allow your forehead to come to the floor.
- Extend your arms, palms facing downward. Reach from your fingertips, feeling a stretch in your hips, buttocks, arms, and back.
- Hold for at least one minute.
Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
If you spend your day in front of a computer, this pose is for you! Bridge pose relieves tension in your shoulders, chest, and hips, stretching your muscles in the opposite direction they have been positioned in all day.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms, palms facing downward.
- Exhale, pressing your feet and arms into the floor, and lift your hips. Your thighs and feet should be parallel.
- With arms extended, clasp your hands together under your torso, keeping your glutes raised. Try to keep your arms straight, and press your forearms into the mat. Reach your hands toward your heels.
- Hold for up to one minute.
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
Give new meaning to kicking your feet up at the end of a long day. Viparita Karani is known to calm the mind and bring the body into a deep state of relaxation. Your tired muscles will thank you for practicing this pose.
- Sit sideways (facing right or left), about five or six inches from a wall. You may use a pillow or another prop for back support. If you go this route, sit on the end of your prop.
- Turn your body so you are facing the wall, and prop your legs up. If you’re using a pillow, your lower back should rest against it.
- Lower your back to the floor and lie down, resting your shoulders and head on the floor.
- Straighten your legs, scoot your buttocks closer to the wall, and rest your arms open, palms facing up.
- Relax and hold for five to 10 minutes, keeping your breathing steady.
Susanne’s final piece of yoga advice: Anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age or fitness level. But you have to be open to start where you are, not where you think you should be.
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