Strike a pose. Hell, strike 10!
That’s right, we’re back with another fine selection of yoga-based poses, stretches and moves to help bring about clarity and calmness. This routine has been devised by our Lead Therapist and qualified yoga teacher, Nadège, and are perfect to squeeze into a busy day. It can be done anywhere, anytime and doesn’t even require you to wiggle into your workout clothes – just make sure you’re wearing something you can comfortably move in.
To really up the benefit of these poses, make sure you’re also practising mindful breathing when holding them. Take the time to focus on the inhale/exhale process and keep your breathing slow, deep and steady – helping to regulate your body’s oxygen exchange. You might also like to play music to set the scene – whether that’s slow world music, chillstep, or a classic, flute-tinted meditation playlist.
Intense low lunge pose
Get low! This intense stretch is great for opening up the hip muscles and stretching the major psoas – that’s the muscle that runs from the hips through to the lower back. This pose also helps you to keep a good balance within the body whilst building core awareness.
Seated forward bend
If you have lower back pain, a hernia or are pregnant, take care when doing this stretch. The seated forward bend pose works your lower back and hamstrings, and is great for helping realign your breathing and aiding digestion – just don’t do it straight after a Sunday roast!
Intense side stretch pose
You’ll be able to feel the stretch in this one right off the bat. This pose is perfect for releasing tension in the hamstrings, calves and glutes. It’s also a great way to boost your balance, and opens up the back of the legs for better mobility when walking or running.
Low intensity lunge twist
This is another of Nadège’s favourite moves, which creates an intense stretch that opens the hips and groin, and works the iliopsoas muscles. The central focus of this pose will help you to adjust any imbalances in your body.
Push those shoulders back and get ready to coo. Maybe.
The classic pigeon pose works wonders for the whole body. Your glutes, iliopsoas, groin and core muscles will all feel the stretch, and your chest and lungs will feel opened up. If you struggle with sciatica, this can be a great move to relieve the pain.
Whilst in this position, try to calm your mind and breathe rhythmically. Pigeon is a great pose to do at the end of a yoga sequence to settle the body down and get back to slow and steady breathing.
Pigeon pose extended
Get your palms on the floor for this extension of the pigeon pose. This move will give you a deeper stretch to all the muscles mentioned above, and will also help relieve sciatica-related pain if you have any. Again, it’s great for settling your breathing post-yoga session.
“What’s with all the animals?” you ask. We can’t give you a good answer to that, but we can vouch for the fact that one-legged king pigeon is the perfect pose for opening up the groin and hips. If you’re prone to tight quadriceps and glutes, this move gives them an extra-deep stretch. That’s not all though. The shoulders and pectoral muscles also get a great workout too.
Get those glutes in the air to realign that spine! The puppy pose also gives your shoulders and upper back muscles the chance to open up, which is especially handy after a long day sat at a desk. This is a great pose to practice your deep breathing in too – inhaling/exhaling deeply and slowly can help you achieve enhanced respiratory capacity.
Counter-balance that seated position we all sink into at our desks with this pose. It stretches the lower back and creates space between the lumbar vertebrae (also known as the bottom bit of your spine). It also opens up the groin muscle, so you feel more balance in your base, and relieves tension in the legs by stretching the Achilles tendon.
Sitting pose with twist
Add a twist to your standard sitting pose and feel the stretch in lower back and torso. This move creates space between the lumbar, and improves flexibility and movement in the spine, in turn opening the chest and boosting your oxygen intake.
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