Add these yoga stretches into your after-work routine to help you relax.
You have had a long day. Or maybe you are right in the middle of the day and you need to step away from your office chair for a few deep breaths. Your chest cavity feels constricted and you feel as though an elephant is pushing down on your shoulders and onto your heart. Exhausted, you barely crawl your way home to pour yourself a glass of wine. The wine can help, but the following five yoga poses will unravel the tightness in your body and help physically prepare you for sleep and the following day. Try to remain in each pose for about 10 breaths.
This pose technically includes two movements that work on relieving pressure from your spine and back muscles as well as your chest and ab muscles. You must focus your breathing in this exercise as well, breathing in for cow pose and out for cat pose. This will spur your blood to deliver oxygen to your mind and help you calm down.
Many of us carry stress and tension in our lower backs. Child’s pose lengthens the lower back and hips and allows you to choose to position your knees as wide or narrow as you like — whatever feels the best for you. As you breathe out, reach your fingers a little farther away from your body. You can also reach both of your hands to your right side for a couple breaths and then switch to the left side to stretch your sides.
The forward fold will also work on stretching and lengthening your lower back. As you breathe in, lift your hands above your head. On the breath out, fold over your knees and reach your hands towards your toes. With each new breath out, you will find you can reach farther towards your toes. Make sure to relax your head. Do not strain it trying to find your toes.
Plow pose switches the direction of blood flow in your body. You can either lift your legs up in the air as you lay on your back and gently let them fall back behind your head or you can lie next to a wall and place your feet on the wall for a supported version. This pose will also help reduce any swelling or pooling of blood in your ankles if you have been on your feet all day. You will feel your lower back and hips relax as you breathe into the pose. Once you come out of it, wait at least a minute before stretching your back in the opposite direction as this can be too much on your spine.
Pigeon pose works on opening your hip flexors, glutes, psoas muscles, and piriformis. A lot of yogees will tell you that you hold emotions in your hips. Pigeon will release these emotions, helping you work them out of your body to calm you down and breathe deeply once again.