I do not know about you, but I constantly find myself physically or mentally on the go all day long; thinking about the next project, and how I can get two things done at once. I have always found traditional yoga classes extremely relaxing and so worth the hour session, but my most stressful days usually do not allow for an hour of peace and quiet. Creating time, even if it is only a few minutes, for reflection and mindfulness helps to slow down the mind and body even on the most eventful days. Yoga stretches outside of the studio and off the yoga mat can be even more beneficial to the mind and body in the stressful moments of the day.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga is a practice rooted in Indian philosophy that has become a popular way to promote physical and mental well-being.
Benefits of Yoga:
- Improve general wellness such as sleep, balance, and relieving stress.
- Relieve lower back pain and neck pain.
- Help manage anxiety or depressive symptoms.
The best thing about Yoga is you do not need a Yoga mat or studio to enjoy the benefits of a 2-3-minute relaxing stretch to calm your body and mind. Take a moment to breathe deeply and stretch your body with these 4 easy yoga stretches that can be done from almost anywhere.
Wide Leg Forward Bend
- Stand with your feet spread wide apart, push your hips back as you stretch your torso forward. Bend at the waist, like a tabletop. Rest your head on the table, or chair with your arms folded. Take a few deep breathes to quiet your mind as you stretch your body.
- Sit (or stand) with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Slowly lift your shoulders to your ears, and inhale deeply. Then lower your shoulders down and back to a relaxed position as you exhale. Repeat. Then complete this stretch in the other direction. Start with your shoulders down in a relaxed position, slowly lift your shoulders forward toward your ears, and back down to a relaxed position. Repeat. Breathe and quiet your mind as you move through this stretch.
Seated Figure 4
- Seated in your chair, place both feet firmly on the floor and sit tall like a tree. Place your right ankle on the thigh or knee (wherever it is comfortable) on the left leg. Grip your ankle with the left hand and press gently into the knee of the folded leg with the right hand. Breathe as you hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Seated Crescent Moon
- Seated in your chair, place your palms together, and without separating your hands, lift your arms over your head. Gently lean to the right, breath through this gentle stretch. Come back to center, and gently lean to the left, breathe and quiet your mind through this gentle stretch.
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