You're sitting in your car after a long day at work? You want to work out but your day at work was killer and your body is feeling stiff? Maybe it's time for a little yoga tune-up!
You know you need it- your body- and your mind- are crying out for something! A little self-love at the very least. So why not throw on your favorite leggings and give your body some yoga TLC (Tender Loving Care) at home instead of something more high-active? This way you can help manage your stress levels, sleep better, and feel amazing the next day.
Having a balance between activity and relaxation is essential for living a balanced life.
Here are our favorite stretches for the busy woman. These are great whether you spend all day at a desk or have an active job on your feet, a little self-care can go a long way to maintaining a happy and healthy body and mind.
So lay out your yoga mat, take a few deep breaths to center yourself, and let's get started...
FOR THE SPINE AND CHEST
This stretch targets both strength and flexibility for the back. Excellent if you find yourself slumped at a computer all day!
Lie on your belly with your feet flat and hands underneath your shoulders. To protect your lower back, gently lift the belly muscles inward, so your core is active. Begin to lift the chest off the floor. Keep the shoulders drawn down into the back and the neck long. The chest should feel broad and open, without rounding the shoulders forward. Think of lengthening the lower back so there is no pressure felt there. Start small and gradually move into a greater range of motion.
Try taking an inhale to lift into the cobra and then exhale to lower down. Repeat 5 times, and then hold for 5 breaths on the last one.
FOR THE LOWER BACK AND HIPS
Relieve lower back pain and compression through a gentle twist. This hip and low back stretch is essential for anyone experiencing back pain.
THE HIP CROSSOVER TWIST
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and open your arms wide. Keep the legs in this shape and release them over to your left side. The outer left thigh and right foot will be on the floor. It is like you are holding the “figure 4” shape in a twist. This is an excellent twist for resetting the bones in the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joint. You can hold here for up to 3 minutes. It is very relaxing. Breathe deeply and then repeat on the other side.
FOR THE HAMSTRINGS AND CALVES
Everything is connected, so chances are if you're experiencing lower back pain, you may also have tight hamstrings! Which is why we have included this stretch here, so the entire body has been given some attention now.
RECLINED LEG EXTENSION
Lie down on your back and bend your right knee into your chest. Hold onto your foot or calf with your right hand or use a strap. Extend the leg up to the sky and breathe deeply. Hold for 5 breaths or longer and repeat on the other side.
All you need is a few minutes to do these, and you will be feeling energized, calm, and relaxed for whatever the rest of your evening has in store afterward. Your body will thank you and you may even find your work productivity improving, too!
Lindsay Nova is a firm believer in the wisdom of the body, the strength of the heart, and the power of the breath. She holds a BFA in Dance & Choreography from Ohio University and has been teaching yoga since 2008. Lindsay is also a certified Pilates and barre instructor as well as a Reiki Level 2 practitioner. She has taught yoga and worked as a performance artist across the United States and currently travels the globe teaching yoga.