Four Yoga Poses for Summer Travel and Life
Point to Ponder:
Is summer travel causing extra tightness and stiffness in your body ?
Summer is no doubt a time for extra travel, adventure and fun!!; however with travel also comes sitting in cars and airplanes for longer bouts of time, sleeping on hard beds, or using stiff or too soft of pillows. Unfortunately, this can cause tight hips, sore knees, necks and backs and a body that doesn't feel as good as it can and should. While some travel tightness is inevitable, remembering some basic stretching in the form of a few simple yoga poses can significantly reduce your travel aches so you can explore and adventure through vacation and life pain free and feeling your best!
1. Cat/Cow Pose
BENEFITS: This pose is beneficial for warming up the spine and stretching the torso and neck while focusing on deeply inhaling and exhaling. It improves posture and balance; strengthens and stretches the spine and neck; stretches the hips, abdomen and back; increases coordination; massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands; creates emotional balance; Relieves stress and calms the mind. It is a great first exercise to begin to tune into the breath, bring suppleness to the spine and create awareness of where you are holding tension. Focus on the breath, each time trying to go a little deeper.
TRY IT! Step 1: Start on all fours in table top position, lining up wrists and knees and keeping your spine and head in a neutral position. Step 2: On the inhale, draw your chest and tailbone up to the sky, allowing your belly to sink down and your eyes to look straight ahead. Step 3: On the exhale, reverse the tilt of your pelvis by curling your tailbone down and rounding your spine toward the sky as you release your head towards the floor. Repeat several times.
2. Bridge Pose
BENEFITS: Great for stretching the chest, neck and spine and hips while calming the mind and stimulating the abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid. Bridge is a great release for the low back while energizing the legs and stretching the iliopsoas and thighs. It also improves blood circulation.
TRY IT! Step 1: While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet hip distance apart, about 8 – 10″ from your sit bones. Step 2: Press your feet and arms actively into the floor and lift your hips, keeping your knees directly over your heels. Step 3: Draw your sternum towards your chin and try clasping your hands and reaching your fingers and tailbone towards your heels, creating length in the neck and broadening across the front of the chest.
3. Reclined Abdominal Twist
BENEFITS: Stretches the lower back, glutes and massages back and hips. Lengthens, relaxes and realigns the spin and and tones the abdominals while stretching and strengthening the abductors and obliques. Twists aid digestion, improve breathing and ease back and neck tension.
TRY IT! Step 1: Bend both knees into chest, tuck the chin in slightly and gently push the lower back and sacrum toward the floor. Step 2: Extend your arms out to the side in touchdown position, palms facing up. Step 3: On an inhalation, pin your inner thighs and knees together. Step 4: On an exhalation, lower both knees to the right, twisting through the abdomen as you turn your head and look to the left. Try to keep your shoulder blades looped down your back pressing towards the ground. Step 5: On the inhalation, return the knees and head to center. Step 6: On the next exhalation, lower your legs to the left as you turn your head to the right. Inhale and return the knees and head to center. Repeat 2 – 3 times.
4. Forward Fold with Arms Washing Overhead
BENEFITS: Calms the brain, helps relieve stress in the neck and shoulders, stimulates the liver and kidneys, releases the low back and stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips.
TRY IT! Step 1: Clasp your hands behind your back, draw your shoulder blades down your back, broaden across the chest, and reach her knuckles down towards the ground as you straighten your arms. (You can also clasp a belt or towel behind your back if your shoulders are tight.) Step 2: On an inhalation, lift your clasped hands up behind you and begin to fold forward, bending from the hip joints, not from the waist. Step 3: Release your head towards the ground and melt your chest towards your thighs. Keep a gentle bend to your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Step 4: Let your extended arms wash overhead. With each inhale, try to expand and lengthen; with each exhale, try to relax and soften deeper into the pose. Stay here for 8 – 10 breaths.
As you continue your summer travels, I encourage you to not only go through the four stretches everyday, but commit to some of the healthy habits in last week's journal, keep doing and posting your 25 burpees per day (#summeriGniteburpeechallenge) and show us where all you are iGniting Around the World (#iGnitearoundtheworld) -- WHEW!
Counter the common tightness from travel and feel your best by going through the four stretches each day: cat/cow, bridge pose, reclined abdominal twist and forward fold with arms washing overhead.
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