By Jessica, April 16, 2013
Take a few moments out of your day to try the following simple yoga poses. Practiced regularly, they will increase muscle tone and flexibility as well as relieve the tensions that come with stress. Concentrate on your breathing to keep your mind clear, and always finish in the Savasana position even if you skip some of the others.
Begin by standing straight with your arms by your side. Sweep them out and up with your palms facing the ceiling as you inhale, and bring your palms together directly above your head. Slowly draw them down to your chest as you breathe out, leaving you in prayer-like pose. Repeat three to five times.
Kneel with your knees slightly wider than your hips and sit back on your heels. Reach your hands into a point above your head and lean forward until your forehead touches the floor. The palms of your hands should be flat on the floor in front of you. Gently stretch them to one side until you feel a pull down the muscles of the opposite side of your body. Take a few deep breaths and reach your hands across to the other side and repeat. To come out of this position, slowly drag your hands back towards your body until you are back in a sitting position.
Stand in front of a wall and place your palms flat against its surface shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hands on the wall, start to step back and slide your hands down to the same level as your hips. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent as you push against the wall, stretching the muscles in your back. Let your head drop and breathe deeply, focusing on relaxing the jaw muscles that often clamp up when stressed. Hold for a couple of minutes, then walk back towards the wall slowly until you are standing again.
Shoulder Stretch on the Wall
Stand with your right hand side facing the wall with a little less space than the length of your arm between you and the wall. Stretch your right arm out behind you and place the palm of your hand against the wall. Gently rotate your body away from the wall until your shoulder stretches gently. Hold for several deep breaths, then inhale, stretch your finger tips towards the ceiling, and let your arm swing back down again. Repeat on the other side.
Lie flat on your back with the soles of your feet on the floor, about hip-width apart, with your knees bent. Lift your right foot and bring it up so your right ankle rests on your left knee. Hold for a few deep breaths, and then return to the original position. Repeat with the other foot.
Legs up the Wall
Sit with your right hip touching the wall and your legs bent so your feet are off the ground. Place your hands flat down on the ground behind you, lean back, and slowly rotate your body until you are lying on your back with your legs flat against the wall and the soles of your feet facing the ceiling. Breathe deeply and remain in this position until you are ready to slide your legs back down the wall and slowly sit up.
This is the pose of relaxation and is the position all yoga sessions should end with. All you have to do is lie flat on the ground while still awake, and concentrate on your breathing. Stay this way for as long as feels comfortable.