It’s been a long day in the office. Your mental stress is sky high, you have a stiff neck and sore back from sitting at your desk all day and you’re craving some downtime. The first thing you want to do after work is getting home to try to relax, but the last thing you feel like doing is getting into your activewear and heading to the gym or to a yoga class.
What if I could tell you a solution that may settle those worries? Something short, simple and effective, and you can do it from your living room.
Follow this simple 10-minute body opening sequence of six yoga poses to experience the ultimate wind down after work.
1. Sleeping Butterfly
For me personally, this is the queen of all restorative yoga poses. In fact, I often go to bed in bound angle and stay there until I am sleepy. Simply lie down on your back and open your knees out wide with the soles of the feet touching. Let your arms rest by your side and for extra comfort add a bolster or firm cushion underneath you along your spine. This also helps open up the chest and shoulders. Stay in bound angle for at least 10 breaths, try to deepen and slow down your breath with each inhale and exhale. Feel your torso become lighter, your knees become heavy and feet sinking into the mat.
2. Head to Knee
Coming out of bound angle, tuck the knees into your chest and roll over to the right. Make your way up slowly to a set, lengthening the left leg out, placing the right sole against the inside of the left thigh. Flex your left foot and breath in drawing a big circle with your hands to reach towards the sky. Turn your shoulders towards your left leg and exhale folding over your left leg. Inhale again to look forward and melt the collarbones towards your left foot whilst exhaling ti subj into your head to knee pose. Don’t worry if your head does not touch your knees. Call this pose Janu Sirsasana if head to knee isn’t happening today! Repeat these movements on the opposite side.
3. Wild Thing
To counter the forward fold, open the front body into wild thing by reaching both hands above the head, then dropping the left hand to the floor behind and the right hand extending overhead. Make sure your left hand is pressing down into the mat evenly, spreading your fingers wide to build a stable base. If you feel comfortable, look towards your extended right hand. Repeat these movements on the opposite side.
4. Happy Baby
This pose should be part of your everyday practice as it has incredible restorative and energising capabilities. Lie on your back, tuck your knees into your chest, separate your knees wide and reach for the outside edges of your feet. Lift both feet up so the soles face the ceiling, drop the shoulders, push the tailbone down and press the entire length of the spine into the mat until there is no more space between your lower back and mat. Gently draw your knees towards the floor past your ribcage.
5. Bridge Pose + One Legged Bridge Variation
Still on your back place your feet near your sit bones, so your fingertips can just reach your heels. Press both feet down firmly, tuck the tailbone and slowly roll your spine upward, feeling each vertebra lifting off the mat until your shoulders carry your weight. Walk the shoulders in towards each other and clasp the hands underneath you. Draw the heart to your chin and lift both hip bones skywards. To intensify, you can bring the bases of your hands together, and perhaps lift one foot straight up without moving the hips. Stay for a few breaths before changing sides. To come down reverse the above instructions and rest in sleeping butterfly or windshield-wipe your legs.
6. Legs Up The Wall
To finish off, I like to add an inversion with legs-up-the-wall pose. As the name indicates, it is practiced against a wall, but you can just take the legs straight up if you’re quite flexible in your hamstrings and lower back. Otherwise if you don’t have a wall close-by and can’t get your legs straight, use a block, bolster or blanket underneath your bottom. Inversions are amazing for lymphatic drainage, especially if you sit or stand most of the day.
Nadine Lafleur is the founder of Luxe Yoga, Sydney’s first yoga coffee lounge located in the business and shopping hub of the Northern Beaches. Passionate about personal growth, a balanced lifestyle and following your passion, Nadine thrives in the health and wellness industry and loves working with likeminded people. She has a strong desire to help others achieve a positive mind and a healthy life through movement and mindfulness.