O'tis the holiday season-- the lights, the food, the family, the stress! Yep, along with the holidays comes plenty of stress--and that's where yoga comes in handy. Carving just 10 minutes out of your day to do these simple yoga moves will help reduce the stress and keep you from holding your breathe so you can enjoy this busy time of the year.
Diving into Yoga
Doing a simple at-home yoga routine, like the one I have included here, makes it easier to find the time for exercise instead of having to rush off to a gym. Because yoga can be extremely demanding, both in terms of flexibility and strength, you may find yourself lacking the strength to hold a yoga pose for a full minute. Therefore, a good rule to follow in yoga: Work up slowly and go at your own pace.
Whether you're a beginner or an avid yogi, this swan dive pose will help build flexibility and strength while relaxing your neck and back as you let it all hang down.
Take a deep breath in as you lift your arms over your head. Exhale as you bend from the waist and swan dive over or stretch your arms out to the sides until you touch the floor. If you can't touch the floor, place your hands on your calves for support. Let your head hang down and relax your neck by shaking your head "yes" then shaking your head "no." Return to standing as you inhale your arms back up above your head then down alongside your body. Repeat 3 more times.
The Cat/Cow pose (arching like a cat and rounding like a cow) improves the range of motion in your spine while enhancing strength and coordination -- all factors that make your lower back feel better and stay healthy.
Get on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your tailbone and your eyes toward the ceiling. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, and then release the position back to neutral, and inhale again. Exhale and contract your abdominals, rounding your back like an angry cat. Hold this pose for a few seconds and then release back to neutral. Repeat this pose four to six times.
This fun and functional move helps strengthen your core as you 'stop' your body from rocking and is also a great way to give your back and spine a little self massage.
Sit with your knees pulled into your chest. Pull your abs into your spine and take a deep inhale. As you exhale, begin to rock onto your back. Continue rolling until your shoulder blades touch the floor, lifting your hips, still holding onto your knees. Keeping your abs in tight, rock back up to sitting, finding your balance again on your sit bones. Repeat 10 times.
Yoga twisting poses are the perfect way to decompress and wring out any stress and tensions --just like you do with a sponge. The spinal twist helps both stimulate the immune system and detoxify the body (in case you overdo it at a holiday party.)
Lie on your back and extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right knee drawn into your chest. Extend your right arm out along the floor with your palm facing down. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Exhaling, drop your right knee over to the left side of your body. Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee. Turn your head to the opposite side. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Inhale and slowly come back to center, bringing both knees into your chest. Exhale as you extend your right leg straight out on the floor. Repeat on the other side.
To do the full 10-minute yoga workout video and others with LaReine, click here:
To find more yoga poses and workouts in the book Yoga - All in One For Dummies, click the link below: