Hello International Yoga Day!
I’m always trying to improve and deepen my yoga practice because it truly helps me recover more quickly from exercise, and also helps me find deeper inner peace (something we all need!). The great thing about yoga is that it’s something that you can take with you whenever, wherever; to the office, on vacation, at home, and of course in the yoga studio.
Trying a few poses that are active but also calming and relaxing can be a great way to break up your day, refocus you and help you to be more grounded and efficient in your daily activities. Because these are more active poses, I would recommend doing these during a more active part of the day, as opposed to doing them before bed. Before bedtime you would want to try a more passive and calming group of poses- like legs up the wall or corpse pose.
Tree pose is a total favorite of mine, it requires core and glute activation but also requires deep, steady and calming breaths. If you can’t get your foot up beyond your knee, place it on the inside of your calf instead. (See this yoga journal description of tree pose for more information)
Upward dog is another favorite of mine because it’s relaxing, allows for a great stretch on the lower back and hip flexors (great for breaking up the long day of sitting!), but also requires activation of back and glute muscles. Follow your upward dog with a downward dog to keep the pose balanced and fluid. (See this yoga journal description of upward dog for more information)
3. Extended side angle pose or twisted side angle pose
You can choose whichever variation of this pose is more comfortable for you. It’s a great hip opener and also is great for stretching the inner thigh while engaging back, shoulder and arm muscles. To make this pose more challenging put your hand on the ground outside of the front foot instead of elbow on knee or hand on the inside of the front foot. You can also finish this pose with a basic upward dog followed by downward dog combination to stretch it all out. (See this yoga journal description of extended side angle pose for more information)
Enjoy these calming poses for your active life, and don’t forget to breathe! Remember that our bodies are all very different and these poses may not be best suited for you- so please practice carefully!