Exercising where you get to relax?! Sign us up! Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility and strength and it is an excellent way to relax! Such a win-win! From right when you wake up in the morning or right before night night time the poses listed below can be done just about anytime and anywhere! Much to the amusement of my co-workers, I have done these in the middle of work when my muscles needed a little extra waking up. Now, sit down or stand up (whatever you are feeling) and get ready to limber up.
1. Forward Fold
This pose always reminds me that even after years of dancing, I STILL struggle to touch my toes. If you straighten your legs during this pose, you will receive a hearty stretch from your quads to your calves (EMPHASIS on the calves). Even if you do not straighten your legs, this pose has you falling and relaxing into yourself, hence the name. You cannot go wrong with this pose, no matter what it will give your muscles the stretch they need.
2. Downward Dog
You have definitely done this classic yoga pose the one time you went to that yoga class your best friend dragged you too. Don’t you remember how good it felt to stick yo butt up in the air and feel that LONG stretch in your calves? Now you are thinking about that good memory. This pose combines strength and flexibility because you have to hold yourself up and you get a good stretch.
Bless to any type of activity where I get to lay down. The sweet anticipation for this pose at the end of any yoga class never ceases. Although this pose may just seem like it can’t offer you a good stretch, that is an incorrect notion. I can attest as a person who has lower back problems, whenever I lay on my back in corpse pose all the stress is taken off my lower back and it can ACTUALLY stretch. So this pose offers you relaxation and a nice whole body stretch at the same damn time.
4. Spinal Twist
Need a nice back crack in the middle of the day? Sit on the flow and get to twistin! Great side stretch from this pose! In addition, you are able to do the full-body version of this stretch which provides you more of stretch through your abdominals. Lay flat on your back and pull your right leg acorss your body to the left side. Then keep your right arm on the right side and stretch it out. Your muscles will thank me later.
5. Cat And Cow
Another crowd-pleasing spinal stretch! It gives you the best of both worlds of a spinal stretch: tension and release. Start out on all fours, the cat part will be done first. For the cat part, pull your chest towards with belly button, which will curve your spine and bring that tension. To cow, release that tension, unfold yourself and stick your chest out. It will release the tension you built from the cat and stretch your spine again.
6. Child’s Pose
Can’t you tell that I love stretching my back! It is the way to go since so much tension can be built up from sitting in for long periods of time in class or at work. This stretch works to elongate your spine. In this pose, your chest is open and you can take deeper breaths in this pose. I could stay in this yoga pose all day because it is of how relaxing it is! It can be done in any yoga routine because it is a very versatile pose.
7. (Baby) Cobra
After stretching into a child’s pose the next step in a sun salution would do the (baby) cobra. The cobra pose is putting your hips onto the floor and supporting your weight on your arms to stretch your back. You can straighten your arms for the full cobra pose but there is also another option for this pose. You can also do the baby cobra, where instead of extending your arms all the way, you would sit on your forearms instead. It is less pressure on your lower back! Whatever floats your boat. Yoga is all about listening to your body and going at your own pace.
8. Happy Baby
This pose always makes people feel silly. But hey at we are having fun. That is what matters. This pose is a nice inner thigh stretch. Lay on your back, put your legs up in the air and grab onto your feet. Pull your feet apart for a bigger stretch. Now, you are looking like a happy baby playing on their back. Feeling silly, relaxed and stretched. Ya can’t beat that.
A simple, pose that will help your entire body relax after a workout. This hits the spot after an intense abdominal workout because it stretches the abdominals. To get a bigger stretch from this pose you be sitting upright. If you want the full relaxation from this pose, laying on your back is the way to go. It depends if I had worked out before or if I just want to chill, for some reason, it is really comforting to wrap my arms around myself and just hang out for a second after a long day.
10. The Rack
Don’t let the name freak you out, it is a simple arm stretch! Those arms need love too! For this stretch, you are going to be sitting down. Place your arms shoulder-length apart behind you. Keep your arms straight as you walk your hands back. When you do this, let your upper back round out and drop to the floor. The result will be a nice arm stretch you will feel in your chest and shoulders as well!