When summer arrives, your entire routine changes. Suddenly, family members are home at odd hours and schedules change as new sessions of classes, camps and activities begin. Coupled with the rising temperatures, these changes can be enough to have you wishing you could curl up in a dark corner until fall. To the rescue: Completing these three calming yoga poses every morning will help you quiet your mind, ease anxiety and prepare you to attack every day of this busy season.
Aptly named Child’s Pose instantly eases stress, both physically and mentally. Physically, the position allows you to relax all your muscles and let your weight fall to the ground, releasing any tension you might be holding. Reaching your arms out in front of you stretches out the shoulders, upper back and neck, areas where people commonly hold stress. Likewise, letting your head fall forward and closing your eyes allow you to focus inward, quiet the mind and think about your breathing, blocking out all the potential stressors waiting for you outside.
To do: Kneel down with your knees hip-width apart. Sit down on your feet and let your body fall forward, stretching your arms out in front of you. Drop your forehead towards the ground and close your eyes. Hold for 10 slow, deep breaths.
Cat pose, so named for the way a cat might arch its back to meet the hand petting it, stretches out the part of the body in which people experience the most pain, soreness and tension: the back. Cat pose allows you to gently massage the spine and the muscles supporting it, from the area around your shoulder blades down to your lower back. You’ll ease the stiffness caused by hours spent sitting in a car or in front of a computer and feel the tension literally melting away.
To do: Come onto all fours, with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Press your palms into the floor and arch your upper back, as if there’s a string attached to your spine between your shoulder blades that is being pulled upward. Let your forehead fall towards the floor. Hold for 5 slow, deep breaths, un-arch and relax your back, then arch again and hold for 5 more breaths.
Extended Triangle Pose
While Child’s Pose and Cat Pose turn your focus inward, Extended Triangle Pose turns it outward to the possibilities that the day might bring. Holding the pose and gazing up past your fingertips instills a sense of power over the body and mind and what they can accomplish. The pose itself physically opens and stretches out the chest, an area that is often hunched and squeezed in on itself during your everyday to-dos.
To do: Stand with your feet roughly 3 feet apart and turn your right toe out to the side. Extend your arms out to the sides and slowly bend your torso to the right, bending at the hip, not the waist. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle or on the floor, wherever you can comfortably hold the position. Look up at your left hand. Hold for 10 slow, deep breaths, then rise back up to center. Repeat to the left.
Do you use yoga to ease stress or combat other ailments? Post a photo in your favorite pose and tag Power for Life Fitness and your apartment building on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and we’ll send you a yoga sequence for instantly revving energy and improving mood.