Yoga pose 1: Balasana (Child’s pose)
This pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles of the front body while softly stretching your back muscles. This resting pose centers and soothes the brain, making it ideal for relieving stress.
- Begin on an all four position: shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.
- Bring your knees as wide as your mat for a deeper stretch through the hips, or keep your knees hip-width apart for a more gentle approach, and release through the lower back.
- Let your hips drop back towards your heels and rest your forehead on your mat. If your forehead doesn't reach you can stack your palms or make fists with your hands, and rest your forehead there. Supporting the head will help alleviate neck and upper back pain. If your hips are high off your heels bring a pillow under your hips for support.
- As you inhale, fill your lungs and whole back body with your breath. Feel it lift away from your mat.
- As you exhale gently out of your mouth allow your whole body and hips to release down to your mat.
- Repeat this for 8 to 12 breaths.
- To come out of this pose: roll up through your spine to sit on your heels. If there is any pain in your knees come to a cross legged position. Sit for a few breaths with eyes closed to ground.
PRECAUTION: Anyone with ankle or knee injuries or restrictions in movement from old or pre-existing injuries is advised to use a blanket between these areas and their mat for more comfort.
Yoga pose 2: Parsva Sukhasana (seated side bend)
This side-body yoga pose helps stretch and tone the muscles along the sides of the abdomen, rib cage and spine, keeping your breath full and your spine supple. It releases tension in the body, while calming the mind and nervous system.
- Sit comfortably in a simple cross-legged position. Place your right palm on the floor, near your right hip.
- Draw your belly button in towards your spine to engage your core and protect your lower back.
- As you inhale, raise your left arm out to the side and up above your head beside your left ear. Draw your left shoulder blade down your back and lengthen your left chest to the ceiling as a gentle heart opener.
- your torso, head and left arm follow as you gently bend to the right. Stay for 6 to 8 breaths. Don’t let your buttocks come off the floor as you bend.
- As you inhale, return to the upright position (as you were at the start of step 2).
- As you exhale return both hands, palms down, onto each thigh.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 on the other side.
- Sit for a few breaths with your eyes closed to ground.
Precaution: Anyone with neck injuries or restrictions in movements from old or pre-existing injuries make sure that your neck and head are always in a comfortable position where they feel no strain. You may tuck your chin in and look down. Any lower back pain, please come into the side bends slowly and gently.
Yoga pose 3: Anjaneyasana (low lunge)
This pose strengthens your glutes and quads, and opens up your hips, shoulders, lungs and chest. It also improves your balance and core awareness, aids in the relief of sciatica, and stimulates the digestive and reproductive organs.
- Begin on all four position: shoulders over wrists and hips over knees.
- Place your right foot where your right hand is and bring that hand to the inside of your right foot. Make sure your right knee and ankle are stacked.
- Slide your left knee further back. Find a comfortable distance where you can feel a gentle sensation. Keep your hands where they are on the earth and straighten your arms.
- As you inhale, lift and lengthen the center of your chest forward.
- As you exhale gently allow your hips down and forward, where you can feel a gentle stretch. Make sure you keep your tailbone tucked under to protect your lower back.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 for 6 to 8 breaths.
- For a deeper strength-based variation you can bring both palms onto your right thigh.
- As you inhale lift your torso so it’s upright. Crown of your head high to the ceiling.
- As you exhale repeat step 4.
- To come out of this pose. bring both hands back to where they were at the end of step 2.
- Gently make your way back to an all four position. Come to Child’s pose. Rest for a few breaths.
- Repeat steps 1 to 11 on the other side.
Precaution: Anyone with knee injuries or restrictions in movement from old or pre-existing injuries, please use a blanket under you back knee for comfort. Also keep your back toes tucked to engage the muscles around your knee cap for protection.
Yoga pose 4: Uttanasana (standing forward fold)
This pose stretches the hips, hamstrings and calves and relieves back and neck tension by releasing the entire spine. This yoga pose reduces stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue by bringing fresh blood and oxygen to your heart and brain.
- Begin with your feet hip-width apart. Toes pointing forward, in line with your heels.
- Grab opposite elbows with relaxed arms. Bend your knees slightly and start to fold forward from your hips.
- Let your spine relax and round, soften through your neck, shoulders and spine.
- Once you come down as far your relaxed body will let you, bring your awareness to your feet. Start to shift the weight into the balls of your feet, out of the heels so you’re leaning forward.
- Relax your spine, back, neck, shoulders even more and begin to breath into your lower back.
- Stay here from 6 to 8 breaths .
- To come out of this pose, release your arms and begin to slowly and gently roll up to stand.
Precaution: Anyone with lower back injuries or restrictions in movement from old or pre-existing injuries may need to bend their knees more and rest their elbows just above their knees with their chest and head slightly lifted to avoid any straining. If you have any neck injuries/restrictions in movement keep your head slightly lifted and crown of the head lengthening forward, so back of the neck isn't straining.
Yoga pose 5: Supta Matsyendrasana (reclining twist)
Twists are a great way to release anxiety and frustration. They stimulate and detoxify all of your internal organs. This reclined spinal twist is a great pose to help calm the mind, restore balance and detoxify your body, while releasing tension in your spine, back, neck, chest and hips.
- Begin lying on your back with bent knees. Soles of your feet to the earth.
- Bring your feet hip-width apart. Toes pointing forward, in line with your heels.
- Bring your arms out wide to a T-shape with palms facing up.
- As you inhale hug your knees into your chest.
- As you exhale slowly lower your legs off to the right. Keep your left shoulder blade connected to the earth. If your legs don't come all the way down, support them with a pillow underneath.
- Full expression is to turn your head to the left, soften your head down and relax through the neck.
- Stay here for 10 to 12 breaths.
- Repeat steps 1 to 6 with the other side. When you have completed both sides return to position in step 1 for a few breaths to ground.
Precaution: Anyone with lower back injuries or restrictions in movement from old or pre-existing injuries: before you hug your knees into your chest move your hips to the opposite side of your mat to where your legs are going in your twist. For example, if they're falling to the right, move hips to the left so when you bring your knees off to the right your back will be in a straight line in a twist.
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