5 yoga poses to energize you for the rest of the day (and you can do them anywhere).
Do you feel like your day is so jam-packed that you have no time for yourself, let alone exercise? No problem. Here’s a yoga practice you can do anywhere, such as on a plane or even right at your desk: 5 yoga poses to stretch your muscles, calm your mind and energize you for the rest of the day.
Seated Side Stretch
Begin by sitting in a chair, the soles of your feet solid on the ground and hip width apart. This is your starting position. Inhale and lift your arms over your head and grab your left wrist with your right hand. With your exhale stretch over to the right, lengthening through both sides of your body. Stay here for 3-5 breathes. With your next inhale, straighten your torso so you’re body is upright again. Switch your grip and with your exhale stretch to the left and stay here for 3-5 breathes. Inhale and come back up to vertical, exhale release the arms by your side. This pose wakes up the body by stretching the sides of the torso and spine, opening the shoulders and stimulating the abdominal organs and lungs.
Begin in starting position. Lift your right ankle and place it on your left knee keeping your right foot flexed (this is extremely important to avoid any knee injuries). Gently apply pressure with your right palm on your right knee whilst keeping your spine nice and long. Stay in this position or move further by lowering your torso over the bent leg, resting your left hand on your right foot. Hold for 3-5 breathes, gently lift your torso with an inhale and then switch sides. Gentle hip openers such as Chair Pigeon not only loosen the hips, but also help reduce stress.
Coming back to your starting position. Inhale and lengthen your spine through the crown of your head upwards and reach the left hand across to the outside of your right knee. Reach your right arm around the back of the chair. Make sure the right side of your body is lifted as you twist from your lower spine all the way up including your neck. Stay here for 3-5 breathes and repeat on the other side. Twists are excellent to incorporate in your practice as they not only stretch your spine, shoulders and hips, but also massage the abdominal organs, improve digestion and help relieve stress (do you see the trend?).
Cow Face Stretch
From your starting position, extend your left arm out to the side then bend your elbow reaching the back of your hand up your back between your shoulder blades. Extend your right arm up palm facing the wall behind you and then bend your elbow reaching the palm of your hand on the upper part of your back clasping your left hand. If you cannot connect the two hands, use a towel or strap between your hands. Keep your spine nice and straight, rooting your sit bones into the chair. After 3-5 breathes repeat on the other side. This pose stretches the shoulders, armpits, triceps and chest, eventually increasing the range of motion in your shoulder, a great pose for those sitting at a computer for most of the day.
Finish your practice with a forward fold. Begin in starting position, keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor hip width distance, then interlace your hands behind you. As you inhale, extend your clasped hands towards the ground, lifting your heart towards the sky. As you exhale, release your clasped hands and place your hands on your knees and round your back, lifting your navel towards your spine. Repeat 3 times then fold completely forward lowering your torso between your thighs and your arms by your side or palms on the ground. You can separate your legs further to allow your torso to fall between your thighs. The idea is to get your head below your heart, making this movement an inversion. Inversions are great stress relievers, calm the mind and reduce fatigue. Try to stay here for 2 minutes then slowly roll up with a rounded back to a vertical position.
Tension will melt away as your shoulders open, your chest expands and your spine becomes more mobile. Just 10 minutes a day and you’ll feel revived, clear headed and open to receive whatever the day may bring.