Maybe you don’t have time to roll out your mat every day but you know you should be doing yoga. Here are a few easy poses so you can sneak a little yoga into your life without setting aside any dedicated time for a class or even a home practice.
By Andrea Blair Cirignano
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Desk chair twist
You already know you should get up from your desk every so often and maybe your fitness tracking device even reminds you to do so, but are you also moving your body in all planes of motion throughout the day? Set a calendar reminder to do a twist at your desk a few times of day to keep your back feeling great and, according to yoga philosophy, aid in digestion. Find out the exciting things that happen to your mind and body when you start practicing yoga.
Traffic breathing exercise
The next time you’re stopped at a seemingly endless red light or waiting to merge to pass an accident, try an on-the-go breathing exercise to help pass the time and tamp down any road rage. Begin by breathing as usual and start to lengthen and even your inhales and exhales. Start with an inhale through the nose to the count of three and an exhale through the mouth to a count down of three then slowly add another breath to your count. Breath should stay even and smooth. If it becomes choppy or you’re gasping, shorten the breath again.
Legs-up-the-wall pose is the number one yoga recommendation for sleep troubles and insomnia so try it before or even in bed. Curl on your side with your feet up to a wall (or your headboard) then turn onto your back and extend your legs up the wall with heels propped on the wall or headboard. Stay for anywhere from ten breaths to ten minutes to relax your feet, legs, and back and prep yourself for sleep. Try this genius tip to ensure a good night’s sleep tonight.
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The shower is one of the only times each day when you can close your eyes without distracting you from the task at hand. (At your desk, it might look like you’re asleep on the job; at home, you might look disinterested in your family, and it’s plain unsafe while driving.) Take a few minutes in the shower for a visualization meditation. Picture your ideal vacation destination and focus on one detail (perhaps it’s the blue of the Caribbean). Every time something distracts from this picture, start over with the pristine water once more. Repeat until your final rinse and start your day with a clear head. Find out other ways to multitask in your shower.
Meeting hip opener
Yoga at your desk sounds great, but in reality, you’re probably only going to do something that’s subtle. (Check out hilarious Internet images of people doing ridiculously challenging poses at—or even on—their desks.) An easy pose to try: Cross one ankle over the other knee at your desk or even during a long meeting to make a figure four and hinge slightly forward with a long spine until you feel the glutes and outer hip. You’ll feel better and even ease back tension.
Morning side stretch
If you ever watch an animal or a baby wake up, you’ll notice they naturally stretch first thing. Take note and stretch before you hop out of bed. A simple, quick side stretch is one of many easy yoga poses that will help you wake up, lengthen your spine and open up your lungs so you’ll be ready for the day. Check out these nine ways to become a morning person.
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Curbside calf stretch
While waiting for the crosswalk signal, don’t just stand there. Take that opportunity to stretch your calves by propping your foot at an angle on the curb or a study post. This is a classic runner’s stretch but anyone, including walkers, can benefit and you don’t have to dedicate any extra time.
Bathroom shoulder opener
It used to be that only tech nerds and dentists had bad posture but these days, with the abundance of (and addiction to) technology, the ‘laptop’ posture is more common than ever. Combat the slouched shoulders and rounded back with a shoulder opener each time you use the bathroom. Make a goal post arm and press your forearm into the door frame or stall frame on your way in and do the other side on your way out.
TV-watching hamstring stretch
Ask any beginner yoga student for their trouble zone, and they’re bound to tell you they have tight hamstrings. Even though sitting all day is the main culprit, you can fight back with more sitting—or even laying down! While sitting on the couch at night, hinge forward at the hip until you feel a stretch. The key is to keep your spine long. If you struggle with posture, try laying down on the floor and lifting one leg to hold for a stretch. If you can’t reach your foot or calf, use a towel or belt to assist.