If you are feeling overwhelmed by an endless to-do list, constant emails filling your inbox, or just generally stressed out, consider a 10-minute yoga break instead of a 10-minute coffee break. These four simple and effective yoga postures and deep breathing will help you feel calm, relaxed, and rejuvenated.
Yoga can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (which helps minimize signs of aging), boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain and increase energy levels.
These yoga postures will help rejuvenate your mind and body, so you will feel more at ease when you go right back into the craziness of the day. Move through each poses back to back for a complete routine. Hold each pose for at least five deep breaths and repeat the entire series three times. If you only have a minute, pick one pose and breathe into it. Just one pose will have a positive effect on your day.
Benefits: Strengthens the muscles in your thighs, ankles, and around your spine, as well as increases flexibility in your hips and shoulders.
How to do it: Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh. If you feel wobbly, keep your hand on your ankle while it's pressed into your thigh. If you're finding your balance really easily, press your palms together in front of your chest. Drop your shoulders down and back and pick one point to keep your eyes on the entire time. Stay in this pose for five slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.
Benefits: Increases flexibility in the hips and shoulders, as well as increases strength in the legs, back, and ankles.
How to do it: Step your left foot to the back of your mat and press down through your feet, bringing your torso up, aligning your shoulders above your hips. From this high lunge, spin your back heel so your foot is planted on the ground, turn your right toes to face your front and your left toes slightly in so your hips and shoulders are facing your torso, right arm in front of you, and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over your front hand. Stay here for five long, deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This pose stretches the groin, chest, and shoulders while increasing stamina and strength in the legs.
How to do it: Begin in warrior II with your right leg in front, right knee bent. Lower your left hand to your left leg and slide it down toward your ankle. Turn your right palm toward the ceiling and arc your right arm up overhead, reaching back behind you, without moving your legs. Turn your gaze up. Hold for five deep breaths.
Lower your right arm and lift your left arm until both are shoulder height, palms facing down, returning to warrior II. Switch sides and repeat.
Benefits: This pose strengthens the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and shoulders and energizes the body.
How to do it: Hug your left shin into your chest, then extend it straight back behind you so it's parallel to the ground. Flex your left foot and point the toes down. Bring your fingertips to the ground to stabilize yourself. Reach your arms out in front of you so your body is in a straight line from your fingertips all the way down your back and out through your left heel. Keep a slight bend in your standing knee and keep your core and legs engaged the entire time. Stay here for five long breaths. Hinge at the hips to come up to standing and switch sides.