It’s a fact of modern life – we sit often whether that’s at work, while stuck in traffic, or camped out on the couch enjoying Netflix watch-athons (guilty!). But our body craves movement; it’s happiest when it’s feeling open and easy. Sitting a lot can make muscles and tissues stiff, which causes soreness and pain.
But here’s a secret I’ve learned over the years: every little bit of gentle movement helps keep my body and mind easy-breezy.
Now, you may not have time to schedule a yoga class, but I promise you, these few moves will make your body feel SO much better in just 5 minutes a day. Bonus: you’ll be practicing yoga in a way that compliments your lifestyle.
Try these poses for the rest of the week and notice how it makes your body feel.
Great for: When you need a few minutes to step away from work and recharge.
Stand with your feet comfortably apart, usually about hips-width distance. Draw your attention up from your feet, to your hips and gently pull your belly button closer to you – this helps to make your center stable. Bring your awareness up to your shoulders, relax them. Straighten out your arms low to your side, palms facing forward. Bringing your awareness now to your head – extend your next so that you feel longer and taller. Raise your arms into a “V” overhead, keeping your shoulders low. Take a deep inhale and deep exhale as you settle into Mountain pose.
Half Moon Pose
Great for: Stretching out your sides + arms, especially if sitting for an extended time
From your Mountain Pose, bend your left elbow, placing your hand on your hip. Like a little tea-cup, bend towards the bent elbow, and reach across with your right arm raised. Feel the stretch along the right side of your body, taking full deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Great for: when you want to break-up tightness in your hips and legs. Also, whenever you wanna feel like a bad-ass!
Returning to Mountain Pose (either arms raised or lowed), lean a bit into your left leg and then place your right leg behind, putting the weight into the ball of your right foot. Find a comfortable distance between your legs, making sure your front/left knee is bent and aligned with your ankle. Once you feel steady, you can raise your arms up to a wide V, and settle yourself into the Warrior Pose. Once complete, step feet back together and repeat on the other side.
Tree Pose (balance)
Great for: Practicing how not to be impatient. Try it next time you’re waiting in a line!
From Mountain Pose, bring your hands in front of your heart. Find a spot a few feet in front of you – this is where your eyes and gaze will be, as it helps keep balance. Gently lean into your left leg and bring your right foot to your ankle. You can explore as you bring your right foot up off the ground – always placed on your leg. Keep your breath steady, your gaze forward. Once you feel stable, you can try bringing your arms up overhead to a wide V. Once complete, gently release and repeat on the other side.
Great for: Being a human with lots of things to do – you deserve it!
Lie down on your back with your legs stretch out (or use a pillow under your knees for support) and place your hands low towards your hips, palms upward. Close your eyes and take a series of deep, full breaths. In this relaxation pose, you are encouraged to be still and allow for your body to rest. It’s helpful to try and count your breaths, going up to 10 and back down. Once you feel rested, be sure to slowly roll to one side and sit up. Take a few more deep breaths.