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Whether you’ve been sitting or standing on your feet for many hours today, these 7 poses will be a great way to open and loosen the body after a long day of work. And start transitioning in to rest for the night.
Let’s not waste any time (I know you want to relax) and get right to it.
1. Neck Release – Start by sitting up nice and tall. Drop the shoulders down away from the ears. Bring your left hand behind you and towards the right side of your waist. See if you can clasp your hands together, if not leave your right hand on the thigh. Turn and look over the right shoulder, as far back as you can. Take a few deep breaths here. Keep pressing the left shoulder down, as you bring chin back to face forward and drop the right ear to right shoulder. Play with the angle of your chin, to find where you feel the most tension – either lifting it up to work in to the jaw or turning it down to get in to the back of the neck. Hold here for a few more breaths. Repeat through on the other side.
2. Wrist Stretch – Come up to kneeling, sitting back on your heels. Bring hands out in front of you, rotating the palms down and the fingers to face towards you. Depending how tight your forearms and wrists are, you may need to lift the hips off of the heels. Spread your fingertips nice and wide and rock back slightly, while pushing heel of palm forward. After a few breaths here, keep the fingertips and knuckles as is and start to lift the heels of your palms up off the mat as you bend the elbows. Keep breathing in to it, this is a great stretch to do daily if you spend a lot of time typing. Release your hands and shake them out. Bring the backs of your hands to the mat, with the fingers pointing towards you again. Straighten your elbows, without locking them, and rock your weight back slightly. Push the heel of the palms forward. Stay here, or start to peel the heel off the palm up from the mat.
3. Downward to Upward Dog Ripple – Come in to a wide-legged downward dog, with hands at hip distance but feet spread towards the edges of your mat. Bend your knees deeply and try to press your chest towards the thighs. Paddle out the feet or sway side to side, whatever feels good here. Bring the feet in to hip width, and come up on to your tip toes. Like your body is a wave, start to ripple all the way forward in to a plank. Keeping the toes curled under, drop the hips a bit. Reach the heart forward as you pull your shoulders back for a variation on upward dog. Exhale, making your way back to downward dog. Repeat this cycle through twice.
4. Crescent – Face the long edge of your mat, with feet hip width distance apart. Inhale, reaching the arms up over head. Catch hold of the right wrist with your left hand, as you exhale reach the hands over to the right side. Taking a deep side bend, stretching through the left side body. Inhale to return to center, flip your grip and exhale to stretch to the other side. Repeat through again, but this time, step the opposite leg back behind you to deepen the stretch.
5. Temple Pose – Take the legs wide and open the toes out at about 45 degrees, and then bend deep in to the knees and drop the hips. Let your palms come to the thighs, using your hands to help press the knees wider. Rock and shift side to side, opening in to the inner thighs. To add on a twist, drop your right shoulder down and pull the left shoulder back. Switch sides. Return to center, keeping the hips low, and interlace your fingers. Flip the palms down, and then inhale the arms up over head. Drop the hips down even lower, as you ground in to the feet.
6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold – Keeping the legs wide, turn your toes to face forward and straighten your legs. Inhale to lift up through the torso, exhale to hinge at the hips. Keep a flat back as you come in to your wide-legged forward fold. Wherever you end up, place the hands down and soften the neck. Shake the head gently side to side. To open the shoulders further here, interlace the fingers behind your lower back. Then extend the knuckles up and over, keeping a small bend in your knees and elbow. Release your hands down, then inhale up half way. Bring your hands to your hips as you rest here for a breath, then push in to the legs to come all of the way up.
7. Pigeon Pose – Coming in to downward dog, extend the right leg up. Swing the lifted leg through, bringing right knee down to the mat by the right wrist. Extend the left leg back a bit further. Stay lifted up here, or fold forward for a sleeping pigeon. Place the palms, block, or cushion under the forehead. Take at least 5 deep breaths here before returning to downward dog and switching sides.
Want a few more poses as part of a 25 minute flow? Check out the full video below.
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