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Sometimes what your body needs most is to feel calm and content. Recent research shows that yoga poses can reduce fatigue and adjust the level of the stress hormone cortisol—too little of which can zap your energy. This sequence of poses engages your core muscles and energises your system from the inside out. These poses challenge your balance, which sharpens your focus. They require deep, even breathing, which increases your oxygen intake to help you feel more alert and alive. Stretching also relieves those tightened muscles and leaves you feeling limber, relaxed, and happier when you’re done.
Scrap your pre-exercise stretching routine for this dynamic yoga flow. “Warm-ups should involve flowing, gentle movements to get blood pumping,” says YogaWorks instructor Sara Ivanhoe. This Chair Pose Vinyasa Warm-Up sequence works the whole body. Hold each part of the move for one deep breath.
DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lace your fingers behind the small of your back, keeping your arms straight. Drop your head back as if you’re doing a mini-backbend. Next, exhale and bend forward as far as you can while stretching your still-laced fingers toward the ceiling. Release your hands, swinging them down in front of you. Bend your knees about 45 degrees and lift your chest, raising your arms above your head so they’re in line with your ears, palms facing each other. Repeat the sequence 10 times.
START HERE: Do each of these moves in order, holding the poses for 10 deep breaths (about 60 seconds). Repeat the sequence on the other side of your body, and continue alternating until you’ve done the pose twice on each side.
May 24, 2012