You woke up on the wrong side of the bed, you've got a daunting day in front of you, and you already feel beads of stress-sweat forming at your brow. Stop, take a deep breath, and forget that cup of coffee. Here are ten yoga poses that keep you fit, centered, and happy and will help you avoid exploding before noon.
1. Upward Dog
Opens up your chest, allows for deep breathing, and releases the abdominal muscles.
2. Downward Dog
Boosts circulation and opens up your back and legs. Come summertime, exercise and healthy eating take a back seat to weekend getaways, busy days and nights out. I try my best to dedicate time for the gym or cooking at home, but it's hard to sacrifice time to myself for another thing on the to-do list.
3. Crescent Lunge
Stretches and strengthens the entire body.
4. Warrior II
Strengthens and stretches your legs, ankles and feet, and stimulates your abdominals. Chicago summers are short and sweet, and anytime I can spend outside is precious. So I've been coming up with new ways to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and do something good for myself. Even the smallest activities can affect the outlook on my entire day, so I wanted to share 10 yoga moves to help start your day on the right foot. If you're in Chicago, there are a ton of amazing outdoor classes to take advantage of in Grant Park, North Avenue Beach, and Lincoln Park.
5. Extended Triangle Pose
Strengthens your legs and core, helps to extend your neck and release your shoulders.
6. Wide Leg Forward Fold
Calms the mind and strengthens and stretches the legs.
7. Tree Pose
Improves posture and balance.
Opens your thigh muscles, allows your hips to release, strengthens your lower back. Each move targets a different muscle, helps your body to open up and breathe deeply, and works to strengthen your back and your abdominals to help support strong posture throughout the day. Try to forget what you have to do, where you have to be, or how many minutes you have and just reward yourself for being present. If you only have 20 minutes, these 10 moves are all you need!
9. Camel Pose
Opens up the entire front side of the body. Maximum extension of the spine.
10. Forward Bend
Opens up your lower back and releases your hamstrings. If you're looking for detailed instructions for each pose I highly recommend browsing Yoga Journal's Yoga Pose Directory to help ensure you're doing each position correctly! Before you get started, stand in place, close your eyes, and take eight to 10 deep, slow breaths before moving into the first position. Allow yourself to stay in each position for 10 seconds and run through each move three times, taking breaths in and out through your nose the entire time. You'll walk away feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the day throws your way!