Bend yourself into a state of mental zen with these poses compiled by Liz Owen, a yoga teacher in Arlington, Massachusetts. Try the above move – downward dog (number four) – for total body strengthening!
1. Tree Pose
Standing with your right foot resting on your left thigh, find your balance by grounding through your left foot. Bring your hands together in front of your chest. Reach your arms upwards towards the sky.
2. Triangle Pose
Stand with your feet about four feet apart, with your right foot pointing to the right and left toes turned slightly inwards. Bend to the right as you exhale and place your right hand on your shin, left arm reaching to the sky. Feel your legs, hips and spine stretching and opening.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Stand tall with your feet spaced slightly apart. Hold your elbows and bend forward from your hip joints, elongating your torso towards the earth, evenly from your lumbar spine to the crown of your head. To come up, place your hands on your hips and lift your spine.
4. Downward Dog
Come onto all fours. With a deep exhalation, lift your knees off the floor, lift hips up to the ceiling, and stretch your hips back and up, straightening your legs. Strongly lift up through your arms, shoulders and torso so that your weight moves out of your shoulders and back into your legs. Take three or four breaths and feel your body becoming alive with energy. When you are done, kneel and sit back on your heels, stretching your arms out in front of you on the floor, to perform a Child’s Pose. Rest for a few breaths.
5. Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with your arms next to your hips. Place your feet flat on the floor, and with a full, strong inhalation, first lift your hips upwards and then lift your spine. Feel the support of your legs and deep hip muscles as you hold the pose for a few breaths. Stay for three or four breaths and slowly come down, lengthening your spine along the floor.
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