At your desk, on a break, or before or after a long meeting, these stretches will help keep you from getting stiff, tired and cranky during the workday. Try them at the end of the day, too, to relieve stress before you head home.
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.
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.
Close a Door for These
This pose is the companion to a similar pose (not shown) known as the Warrior.
- Place the back of a chair against the wall.
- Stand with your left side toward the front of the chair, your feet 2-1/2 to 3 feet apart.
- Place your left foot on the chair. The heel of your left foot should be roughly parallel with the arch of your right foot.
- Extend your arms, shoulder height, palms facing downward. Relax your throat, neck, and shoulders.
- Slowly bend your left knee into a right angle. Continue to keep your back leg straight and your back foot pressing into the floor. Look straight ahead or out over the hand over the chair.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Release and switch sides.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
- Stand with your left side facing the wall, feet together.
- Bend your left leg so your knee touches the wall and your foot is on your inner right thigh.
- Place an old tie around your shin if you need help keeping your left leg up.
- Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then release and switch sides.
- As you progress, you will no longer need the tie or the wall.
Seated Double Hamstring Stretch
- Sit near the edge of the chair, facing the wall.
- Place your right foot on the floor at the wall, knee straight, and bend your left leg normally.
- Either place a tie around the ball of your right foot (as shown) or hold onto the sides of the chair.
- Lengthen your back, lift your sternum, and relax your throat, neck, and shoulders.
- Bend slightly forward from the hip crease, keeping your back elongated (this means do not round your back). Only bend as far forward as you can with your back straight.
- Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then release and switch sides.
Head to Chair Pose
- Sit near the edge of the chair and place your feet on the wall. Place a tie around the balls of your feet.
- Lengthen your back and lift your sternum. From the hip crease, lean forward.
- Only go as far forward as you can with your back and knees straight.
- Sit in any comforable position (wide angle, straight-legged, or cross-legged) in front of the chair.
- Place your forehead on the chair, on your hands, or on books or blankets piled up on the chair seat, whichever is most comfortable.
- If your hands are not under your forehead, allow your arms and hands to rest on the chair seat above your head (as shown).
- Your back can be rounded.
- With each exhalation, allow your body and mind to relax just a little bit more.
- Stay in this pose as long as you like.
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