t's that time of year again. We're all stressing out about classes, work, finances, etc... I totally get it! You probably need a way to de-stress, right? Are you a yoga lover? Great! Even if you aren't, I would recommend you try these simple stretches, to help with your stress levels! All you need is your body, a yoga mat (or a towel), and positive vibes.
1.) Child's Pose
It's a posture that can help relax the mind, ease stress and anxiety, while at the same time stretching your back. If you're too worried about looking awkward doing a yoga pose, this is one of the least awkward poses (in my opinion). Here's how to do it: Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees as far as comfortable, with your big toes still touching. While exhaling bend forward moving your torso in between your thighs. Your chest should be sitting above your thigh. Let your forward meet with the floor. Keep your arms long and extended palms facing down, or behind your back (as seen in the photo below). Move your knees further or closer together to increase the amount of stretch.
2.) Corpse Pose
To do the corpse pose, simply lay on your back, with your legs out and your arms at your side, and relax. Close your eyes and breathe. Let all of the thoughts in your head pass through and don't judge your thoughts. In no time your body should feel at ease.
3.) Triangle Pose
This is a pose that requires some flexibility. If you aren't flexible don't worry! The more you do it, the more flexible you'll get. Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart and your arms at your side. Breathe and let your distractions go. Step your feet out as far as comfortable, making sure that your heels are aligned. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, and pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Raise both your arms to your side, so that they're parallel to the floor, hands faced down. On an exhale reach your right arm in the same direction as your right foot. Shift your left hip back so your pelvis and tailbone tilt toward the space behind you. Fold at your right hip, avoiding dropping your torso forward. Turn your left hand forward, reaching towards the sky. Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle. Gently turn your gaze over to your right hand. Hold this pose for about ten seconds and relax, coming out of the pose. Do the same with the left side. (See photo below for assistance!)
4.) The Seated Twist
This is one of my favorite poses. I love creeping my friends out with this, as it helps pop my back. Some benefits of this pose is it helps stretch your hips, knees, back, and your ankles. Here's how to do it: Extend your legs in front of your body and sit up straight. Then, cross your legs in front of you at the shins. If your hips are very tight, you can sit on a bolster or block. With your knees wide, place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Fold your legs in toward your torso. Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs. Place your right hand on the floor behind you. Bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee, exhaling as you gently twist to the right. Inhale again as you lengthen your spine, and exhale as you twist deeper. Gaze over your right shoulder. Try not to over deepen the twist. Hold this for about 10 seconds before realizing and doing the same on the other side.
5.) Pigeon Pose (Lying Down)
This is a good stretch for your glutes. Here's how to do: Start lying down, as if you were going to do the corpse pose. Bring your left knee to your chest and place your right ankle over your left knee. Keep your head on the ground, and keep your shoulders relaxed. Use your hands to gently pull your left leg close to your chest. You should feel a nice stretch! Continue, by switching to the other leg.
6.) Forward Fold (Sitting or Standing)
This is another simple pose that you can do without feeling awkward. Here's how to do it: Sit down on the ground with your legs extended. Keep your arms on the ground and and slowly work your head towards your knees. Depending on how much of a stretch you want, you can either keep your knees straight, or bent. Hold the arch of your feet or ankles and hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds, before releasing. Remember to breath.