With the holidays upon us, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in stress. In the United States, it’s Thanksgiving week! It can be nice to have family and friends around, but do you still have time to do your practice? Or maybe you just need a short break from everything! Well throw that turkey in the oven, go hide in the bathroom, and check out this routine! You won’t need much space or time to do this, and let the stress will melt away.
Note: If you’ve been standing all day and your feet just need a break, you can do this in a chair! (Or if you’re hiding in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet lid?) just keep your feet planted on the ground about hip width apart, if you can, sit straight without your back leaning on a backrest.
Yoga for a Busy Day
Tadasana: We’re going to start by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Stand with your feet about hip width apart and keep your feet parallel. Try not to lock your knees. Roll your shoulders back and stand nice and tall, but keep your chest relaxed down. If you already stand with good posture, this is likely similar to how you would normally stand. Let your hands hang loose at your sides. (Stay tuned for next week’s talk on proper alignment and Tadasana.) This is your moment to breath, smile, and reconnect with your body.
Shoulder rolls: You can bring your fingertips to the tops of your shoulders with your elbows pointing out, or you can relax your arms down by your side. Make slow and gentle circles with your shoulders one direction, then the other.
Neck rolls: If your fingertips are on your shoulders, relax your arms down by your sides now. Draw big circles with your nose one direction, then the other. Avoid throwing your head back very far; it may help to think about trying to keep your neck movements gentle. Return to neutral then look left and right, then up and down.
Clasp hands above head: Bring your arms and hands up straight in front of your shoulders with your palms facing. Interlace your fingers, and turn your palms out. Raise your hands up and overhead. If this is a strain on your shoulders, you can add a slight bend to your elbows, or come out of this slightly. Release your fingers and let them float down your sides. If you’d like, interlace your fingers the opposite way and doing it again! For most people, interlacing your fingers the opposite way will feel very strange.
Side stretch: This pose will be different depending on if you’re standing or sitting. You are welcome to try to do this similar to the standing variation if you’re sitting. Let me know if it works for you!
Standing: (This is called Half Moon in Bikram Yoga.) Like the previous pose, bring your hands up in front of you, shoulder height, palms facing. This time, fully clasp your hands, so your fingers will be interlaced, and your palms will be touching. Keep your index fingers extending, kind of like they’re a steeple. Bring your arms up and overhead. Really ground your feet in this pose, your legs really need to support you. Lean your upper body to the right, keep your chest, head, and pelvis facing straight forward. Come out of it slowly, then lean to the left!
Seated: This would likely be best like the other seated side stretches we’ve done. Plant your right hand on the right side of your seat. If you can grasp the side of your seat with your fingers, avoid griping it super tightly. With your left palmed turned out at your side, bring it up and over head from the side and lean to the right. Push into your right hand to come out, then switch sides!
Forward fold: From standing, swan dive down into a forward fold. Let your knees bend deeply and relax here for a second. Straighten your knees, and lift into a flat back position. You can place your hands on your thighs, shins, or ankles depending on where is comfortable and where you can reach. Relax forward, bend your knees. Come back up into that flat back once more. Now relax forward and when you’re ready, inhale as you slowly roll up keeping your knees soft or with a gentle bend. As you’re coming back into a straight standing position, sweep your arms up and overhead. bring your palms down, and lower your hands to your heart (thumbs to sternum). You will now be in a prayer position.
Relaxation: If you want to get down on the floor and do some Savasana, you can. This is also a good opportunity to add in anything else you would like to this practice. Since my goal is to keep this practice simple and short, I’m going to suggest, keeping your hands in that prayer pose or relaxing your hands along your side and come back into the same pose we began with and close your eyes. Take this moment to relax and breath. If you did this practice standing, you can now choose to sit as well.
Now go forth and conquer the world!