Thankfully, I have yoga in my life. It’s not the cure for everything, but it sure does help deal. It’s great for focusing on my breath and is a reminder to breathe. When I do that, my blood pressure lowers and my muscles relax.
Next time you feel your shoulders creeping up towards your ears, roll out your mat, take off your shoes and get your yoga on. Even 5 minutes can help!
Child's Pose1 of 11
The perfect pose for resting and relaxing as you rest your forehead on the ground.
To do this pose: Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width apart and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in, and, as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Rest your arms beside your legs with palms facing up—or try extending your arms out in front of you.
Cat Pose2 of 11
This pose is great for releasing the kinks out of your back and shoulders.
To do this pose: Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your knees directly below your hips and wrists and your elbows and shoulders perpendicular to the floor. Your head should be in a neutral position, looking at the floor. Exhale and round your spine toward the ceiling like a hissing cat. Inhale, coming back to the neutral tabletop position.
Cow Pose3 of 11
Cow pose is the perfect complement to Cat Pose.
To do this pose: From tabletop position, inhale and lift your sit bones and chest towards the ceiling while your belly sinks to the floor. Lift your head to look forward.
Downward Facing Dog4 of 11
Feel the tension melt away from your shoulders as you push your hands into the floor. You'll also find relief from your tight calves and hamstrings.
To do this pose: Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Push with your hands and straighten your legs untill you are in the shape of an inverted V. Extend your pelvic bones up and heels down. Let your head hang freely, stretching your waist. Your heels should be off the floor but actively trying to reach the floor.
Standing Forward Fold5 of 11
This pose is great for relieving headaches, as well as relieving tension in the shoulders and lower back.
To do this pose: Standing tall, fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine, straightening your legs as much as possible. Place your hands on the ground or grasp opposite elbows for a Rag Doll position.
Wide Legged Forward Bend6 of 11
Similar to Standing Forward Fold, this is another option for releasing upper body tension.
To do this pose: Step your feet out wide along the long side of your yoga mat. Your feet should be parallel to the short side of the mat. Place your hands on your hips as you stand tall. Slowly lower your upper torso forward as you maintain a flat back. As your torso becomes parallel to the floor, extend your arms and press your fingers onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your arms fully. After a few breaths, fold your torso forward placing your head on the ground, if possible.
Low Lunge7 of 11
Release tension in the hips with a Low Lunge.
To do this pose: Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot between your hands into a lunge, keeping your right knee directly above your heel. Slowly lift your back knee off the floor. Press your back heel toward the wall behind you as you begin to straighten your back leg. Keep your spine long as you hold and breathe.
Pigeon Pose8 of 11
Did you know that the hips hold a lot of tension? If you sit a lot in your daily life, you probably have tight hips—that's why pigeon pose is the most requested hip opener in any yoga class.
To do this pose: Come into Downward Dog pose. Raise your right foot and leg off the ground behind you. Bend you knee and bring it towards the inside of your right hand. Angle your knee at a 2-o'clock position. Slide your left leg straight back as you come to rest on the floor with your hips square. Remain with your hands resting on the ground with upper body upright. If a deeper stretch is needed, lower down to have your forearms or with your head resting on the ground.
Reclined Spinal Twist9 of 11
This is a calming pose for the mind that releases tension in the upper body and hips.
To do this pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms to the side making a T shape. Slowly drop your knees to the left as you turn your head to the right. Make sure your shoulder blades remain in contact with the floor. Stay here for a few breaths before moving to back through the center and dropping your knees to the right as you turn your head left.
Legs Up the Wall10 of 11
Stay in this pose for 3-5 minutes to allow the blood to rush back to the heart rather than pool in your lower extremities.
To do this pose: Sit close to a wall, lie on the ground then scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible and send your legs up. Rest with your arms by your sides.