So why not ease that discomfort as it happens, and allow your body to be ready for adventuring whenever the outdoors beckon? New to yoga? Make sure to pop over to the Yoga for Beginners post right here on the Hub.
Wide Legged Forward Fold With Bind (Prasarita Padottanasana with Bind)
This variation on a typical forward fold provides relief for tight hamstrings that come from sitting for extended amounts of time and tight shoulders that arise from typing on a computer!
Starting by standing facing the wide edge of your mat, spread your legs wide (3-5 feet depending on your height), and clasp your hands behind your back (if this is inaccessible hold a strap between your hands, it provides the same benefit). Slowly hinging from your hips, keeping length in your torso, fold forward and allow your arms to float off of your back, allowing for a deeper shoulder stretch. Slowly come back to standing and repeat.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle pose looks gorgeously complicated, but has many variations that are suitable for any body type! This asana is great for working on focus as it pulls all of your energy inward to the midline, but also provides a great stretch for tight shoulders, your outer hips that may be tight from sitting, and helps to relieve low back pain.
Start in Tadasana, standing tall with your feet hips-width apart) with your hands placed together, palms facing in and your forearms parallel to the floor. Bring your feet together and take a few breaths, focusing on grounding, giving yourself a good foundation for this challenging balancing pose. Bend your knees slightly and cross your right thigh over your left. Point your toes to the floor, keeping the entire foot engaged. You may leave your right foot here or attempt to hook it behind your left calf.
Both variations are beneficial. Now, bring your fore arms to touch, and lift your elbows so your upper arms become parallel with the floor. Bring your right arm underneath your left so that the elbows are stacked and the tops of your fore arms touch each other. You may leave your arms here or bring your right hand around your left wrist and let your palms touch. Breathe deeply and bend your knees more deeply, sinking lower. Then straighten your legs and reverse sides, letting your left leg cross over your right and left arms cross under your right arm.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Happy Baby is a great hip opening stretch that also relieves tension in your back and if you rock from side to side can give a massage-like sensation. It also is an asana known for relieving stress, perfect after a long day at work.
Start in Staff Pose. Lower down so you are lying on your back and bend your knees, bringing your legs to your belly. Grasp each foot with your same-side hand (if this is inaccessible you can use a strap draped over each foot for extra length). Open your legs just wider than your torso with your ankles and knees stacked so they form a line perpendicular to the floor, and gently rock back and forth, massaging your spine. Bring your knees and legs together, hug your knees to your chest, giving them a squeeze, and let them float back to the floor.
These three poses are wonderful on their own or practiced one after the other! Have a couple minutes break after a meeting? Try forward folding. Stretching out after a run in the evening? Roll around in Happy Baby! A little bit of preventative care can go a long way when getting your body ready to make the most of your weekend fun!