If you’re anything like me, you might find yourself a bit more rundown at this time of year. Maybe it has to do with the business of the season, the colder weather or the reduced daylight hours. Whatever it is, I’ve taken to doing these five poses every evening to help me unwind and prepare for bed.
POSES 1 & 2: COW – CAT
These two poses work together to help relieve upper back and shoulder tension from a long day of sitting at a desk. Starting on all fours, on the inhale drop your belly, curl your tailbone up and reach your heart forward coming into cow pose. As you exhale, start to round your spine, bringing chin to chest and creating space between your shoulderblades. Flow in and out of these poses as many times as you’d like. Move slowly with your breath. Make sure your fingertips are spreading and that most of your weight is in your fingers and knuckles to protect your wrists. Try to keep your elbows straight as you move through the motion and take your time.
POSE 3: BUTTERFLY FOLD
Come to seated and bring the soles of the feet together so the knees can fall apart. Sit up on a block if you need more height and feel free to widen the distance between your ankles and your hips. Slowly fold forward as you walk your palms out in front of you and relax your chest. Although your spine might round a bit, try not to contract too much through the chest and belly. Resist the urge to push and pull yourself deeper into the pose and instead let gravity do most of the work for you. Stay for about 10 breaths or longer.
POSE 4: HAPPY BABY
Lie down onto your and grab a hold of your big toes, keeping your elbows to the insides of your legs and reaching your heels up towards the sky. Try to stack your ankles over your knees and keep the entire length of your spine down on the mat. Take deep belly breaths and draw your shoulderblades down your back. Stay here for 10 breaths or longer.
POSE 5: LEGS UP THE WALL
One of my all-time favorite poses! Get your hips close to the wall and lower yourself onto your back as you lift your legs up. Knees can be as bent or as straight as you would like. This is a restorative pose that you will ideally hold for a few minutes so take the time to get comfortable. Maybe allow the eyes to close, reach your arms up overhead and let go of your day.
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