by Roberta Fiorito
On days when your inbox is full to the brim, your MIL won’t stop bugging you about that family trip you were supposed to book weeks ago and you can’t stop reaching for the bowl of chocolate, there’s hope. All you need is the right type of yoga to help you stretch and unwind. Here, celebrity yoga guru Kristin McGee has 12 easy yoga moves that will melt away your stress. The best part? You can do 'em right in your chair.
Start with a clean slate: Sit up tall at the edge of your seat and place your hands on your waist. Take a deep breath in through the nose, expanding through your sides and abdomen, then exhale slowly. Repeat for ten breaths.
Inhale and arch your back to look up at the ceiling. Exhale through your spine, pulling your abdominals in and rounding your back. Repeat this movement five times to relieve back and neck tension.
Without moving your upper body, circle your hips clockwise five times, then counterclockwise for five times to release and relax the hip muscles.
SUN SALUTATION ARMS
Sitting tall, breathe in and lift your arms up, pressing your palms overhead. On an exhale, float the arms back down to your sides. Repeat five times. This helps lengthen the spine and releases tension in the shoulders and neck.
SUN SALUTATIONS WITH TWISTS
Repeat the previous exercise, adding a twist as you exhale. Repeat five times on each side, holding the last twist for five seconds.
HIGH ALTAR SIDE LEANS
For a deep spine and shoulder stretch, lift your arms and interlace your fingers together in front of you. Then, turn your palms to the ceiling as you straighten your arms above your head. Lean to the right for three breaths, then to the left for three.
Banish any shoulder aches with this move. Stretch your arms out to each side. Next, bring one arm under the other in front of you at shoulder height. While bending your arms at the elbows, twist your arms so your palms meet each other. Hold for five breaths, then unwind and repeat with the opposite arm on top.
ASSISTED NECK STRETCHES
FYI: Our necks carry a huge amount of stress. To help alleviate it, take your right arm and drape it over your head until your palm reaches your left ear. Let your head fall to your right shoulder, and hold for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
ANKLE TO KNEE
The hip area is also a major stress spot. To loosen things up, sit up straight, bend your right knee and place your right ankle over your left knee. For a deeper stretch, lean forward. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
GODDESS WITH A TWIST
Another great hip stretch: Open your legs wide and point your toes out. Place your right arm inside your right leg, reaching toward the floor. Lift your left arm toward the ceiling and bring your gaze up to your left palm. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
This one’s a win-win: build confidence and get a full-body stretch at the same time. Sit tall at the edge of your seat. Bend your right knee to the side and stretch your left leg out behind you as you press down through your outer heel. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Finish with a calming forward bend, which lets blood flow to the brain. First, sit tall and straight. Then, fold over your legs, letting your head, neck and body hang limp. Hold for as long as you want before rolling back up to a sitting position.
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