Ritual 3: Breath and Stretch with Yoga

Yoga poses can kick off your day in the right way, leaving you prepared to take on the world.

Yoga can sometimes feel daunting to people as it elicits images of women and men looped up like pretzels or standing on their heads.  Yoga in its purest form isn’t about the amount of poses you can attain but rather it’s a mechanism to unite the body and the mind to shift your consciousness.

Starting your day with a few slow movements and stretches will help you feel calm and more in tune with your body. You can say affirmations along the way, or even pray or listen to music that fills your soul.

While yoga will help you improve your flexibility and boost your muscles; it can also enhance your energy levels and relieve stress and anxiety. In addition to waking up your body, starting your day with movement helps you tune into your breath and concentrate better. If you ever feel little anxious, a deep breath and a few poses can make all the difference.

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment needed: mat and a body (that’s all you need)

Instructions: Flow from pose to pose, holding and breathing. 

Cobbler's Pose 

Is an essential pose for beginners and it's a good basic stretch that almost anyone can do, it’s a powerful stretch for the inner thighs and groins and also activates the muscles of the pelvic floor.

How To: 

Begin seated in with your legs outstretched straight in front of you.

Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall out to either side.

Draw your feet in as close to your body as is comfortable. Back off if you feel any knee or hip pain.

Press the outer edges of your feet together firmly. The feet may begin to open like a book. 

Sit up tall with a long spine while keeping your shoulder blades on your back and your shoulders moving away from your ears. 

If comfortable, you can lean into the pose, folding forward from the hips.

Cat-Cow Pose 

Cat-Cow is a yoga pose that’s said to improve posture and balance — ideal for those with back pain. The benefits of this movement will also help you relax and ease some of the day’s stress.

How to:

Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips.

Inhale and arch the spine so the belly sinks while the face and tailbone lift upwards.

Exhale and push into hands and knees to hollow belly, round spine, and tuck the chin towards the chest. 

Repeat for five slow breaths or about one minute.

Side Bends

Side bends bring balance to your entire body. They lengthen the abdominal muscles, hips, and thigh muscles, while improving flexibility in the spine.

How to:

Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and parallel, arms extended overhead with interlaced hands.

Inhale and lean up and over from the waist to the left side.

Hold for a few breaths, then push through feet to return to standing and repeat on another side.

Perform three rounds on each side.

 

You can end your stretches here with a Cobbler's Pose.

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