Yes, this is my secret of peaceful and blissful existence!
I’ve spent many evenings doing these poses, after a long, hard day, while family life happened around me. That might mean my girlfriend pecking my brain for our next holiday or there’s a political debate on in the background. My evening Yoga practice isn’t perfect (and yours doesn’t have to be either), but I still find it incredibly helpful to spend a few minutes on self-care.
This Yoga routine helps to release tension in your hips, hamstrings, and shoulders – all areas that accumulate tension in daily life. These stretches are designed to help you reduce tension, and gain more relaxation and body awareness.
This routine is also the perfect little (home) office break in order to release tension caused by sitting all day long at the desk. Through these poses you’ll gently nurture yourself by stretching, breathing, and tuning your awareness to your body and breath. This act of focusing on exactly what you’re doing in your body and breath will help slow down the momentum of your mind so that when it’s time to let go and sleep, it’s easier to do that.
Take 5-10 breaths in each pose and do each side before moving to the next. Rest, Savour and Repeat as often as you can!
Seated Twist (Sukhasana Twist) – Tones the muscles of the back and thus brings stability to the spine. Straightens the upper back and brings the sagging shoulder in alignment with the spine thus making shoulders look strong. Strengthens the neck muscles as the twisting of the upper body requires flexibility of the neck.
Bound Hand Stretch (Badha Hastasana) – This pose helps with chakra alignment, spinal and nerve energies, circulation and expansion of the lungs which increases oxygenation of the blood.
Tangled Arms Stretch (Garuda Arms) – Stretches, Strengthens, Lengthens. The crossing of elbows in front of your body elongates and strengthens muscles in your upper back, rotator cuff and shoulders.
Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana Bitilasana) – it is great for strengthening your spine. During cow stretch activates the tailbone, the spin’s root, while the cat stretch releases the tension of neck and upper back. The pose will also improve the blood flow in your spine.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – beneficial in strengthening the whole body specially the arms, legs, shoulders and feet. This pose calms the mind and relieves headache, insomnia and fatigue. Highly recommended for marathon runners after a hard race and also sprinters to develop speed and lightness in the legs. Out of many other benefits it also lengthens the spine, strengthens the muscles of the chest and increases lung capacity.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – stretches the thighs and groins and opens the chest. It provides recovery post-workout, and boosts energy while consciously working to improve posture.
Seated Side Straddle Pose (Parsva Upavistha Konasana) – The extension of the arms overhead and moving in the opposite direction encourages the opening of the shoulders, engaging the chest and rib cage. This further helps with better deep breathing, while also acting as a gentle heart opener.
Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana) – Cow Face Pose stretches the hips, ankles, shoulders, arms, and chest, almost every part of your body. This pose may help you correct your posture and begin to equalise your flexibility. It’s a great pose for those who sit most of the day at work as it will open your hips and chest, counteracting the slump many people adopt while sitting. It is a calming and centering pose.
Gift yourself few minutes on self-care in the evening, before eating dinner and hitting the sack!