10 Yoga Stretches While You Watch TV
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10 Yoga Stretches While You Watch TV

These yoga poses are easy to do during your favorite shows. They'll help increase your flexibility and keep you from becoming a couch potato.

Yoga Basics

Tips for Your Practice:

  • Move into each pose slowly and deliberately.
  • Remember to breathe while you are holding each pose. Don't hold your breath.
  • Start slowly and don't overdo it.
  • Loose, comfortable clothing or workout clothes are best for yoga practice. Bare feet are essential unless you are in some of the resting poses.
  • You can do these poses every day if desired.

Credit:

This material is used with permission of Sterling Publishing, Co., Inc., NY, NY from Yoga for Wimps by Miriam Austin, copyright 2000 by Miriam Austin. Photos by Barry Kaplan.

Ready for Prime Time

Seated Bound Angle Pose

The objective of this pose is not to get your knees to the floor, but rather to extend your thighs so you can gain flexibility in the inner and the outer thighs, and the hips.

  • Sit on the floor or on folded blankets next to the wall or couch.
  • Extend your legs in front of you, bend your right knee, and bring your foot to the center of your body.
  • Then bend your left knee, in the same fashion, and bring your left foot to meet your right foot, placing the soles of your feet together.
  • If your knees are higher than your waist, add more blankets until your knees are at or below your waist.
  • Lengthen your spine and lift your sternum (breastbone). To help straighten your spine, place your hands or fingertips on the floor beside you; if you are sitting on a prop, you may have to place your hands on books that are placed behind you.
  • Keep your throat, neck, and shoulders relaxed as you lift your spine.
  • Firmly press the soles of your feet together. This will automatically help extend your inner and outer thighs toward the knees and open your inner hip joints.
  • Hold the pose for as long as you can, increasing the time as you progress.

Seated Wide Angle Pose

  • Sit on some folded blankets or against the couch.
  • Stretch your legs out to the side. Flex your feet (point your toes toward the ceiling).
  • Lengthen your back and lift your sternum.
  • Keeping your back straight, bend slightly forward from the hip crease, which is the place where the front of the hip and your leg meet.
  • Important note: Bend forward only to the degree you can keep your back straight. For most of us, this is not very far!
  • Once you've gone as far as you can, hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds, increasing the time as you progress.

Fingers Between Toes

  • Intertwine your fingers between your toes.
  • Flex your feet toward you and squeeze your hand around your foot.
  • You can do one foot at a time or both at once.
  • At a minimum, hold this pose for at least a minute.

Arm Stretch

  • Stretch your arms straight overhead, palms facing each other.
  • Lengthen your arms as though you are stretching all the way from the hips.
  • Keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed, lift your sternum and keep reaching for the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, release, and repeat.

More TV Stretches

Feet Sitting

  • Kneel with your legs, feet, and ankles together.
  • Curl your toes under -- making sure you get the little ones, too -- and sit back on your heels.
  • To decrease the intensity, keep your fingers on the floor.
  • To intensify the stretch, tie a necktie around your ankles to hold them together.
  • Hold for 15 to 20 seconds; release, rest, and try again.

Pre-Lotus Position

  • Sit with your back at the wall or against a couch, and your legs extended.
  • Bend your left knee and place your calf so it is parallel to the wall or couch.
  • Bend your right knee and place your right foot on your left knee. Extend your lower back and lift your sternum.
  • If your right knee is far from your left foot, place a book or blanket between your foot and your knee (as shown).
  • If your hips are stiff, sit on a folded blanket.
  • Hold as long as you like, then switch sides.

Cow Face Pose

  • Kneel on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
  • Cross your left knee behind your right knee.
  • Keeping your knees close together, move your feet out to each side.
  • Slowly sit on the floor. If you can't reach the floor, sit on a book or blanket.
  • If the right knee comes up high, place a book under your foot.
  • Whenever you are ready, come out of the pose onto all fours again, and switch the cross of your knees.

Rock the Baby

  • Sit in a chair, keeping your back as straight as possible.
  • Bring your left leg up, close to your chest.
  • Place your left foot in your right hand and your left knee in your left hand.
  • Move your leg from side to side, as though you are rocking a baby.
  • If you cannot get your calf even with your chest, don't worry. That will come with practice.
  • Make sure you rock this baby's twin brother or sister! (In other words, switch sides.)

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