We are all made up of different fabrics, woven together to make an incredible patchwork. It takes many kinds of, well…kinds. We are the mothers, the builders, doers, and sitters, writers, artists, business managers, production workers, and blue and white collars of this great world. In the mess and beauty of it all we get tired from standing, doing, walking, and sometimes simply being. I guess it’s a good thing we have yoga to take care of that! Below are 10 yoga poses for my fellow men (and women) who have had a great, productive, yet exhausting day.
1: Childs Pose
Childs pose is excellent for taking off that extra weight that you carry on your poor feet all day. It’s easy to transition into this pose from Plank, Table, Cobra and a few other sitting or floor positions. There are also quite a few ways that you can relax into this pose. There is no wrong one, really. You may lay your arms at your side, reach them in front to put a little bit more stretch into your upper shoulder and back muscles, or you may even fold your arms in front of you and lie your head on them. Childs Pose loosens your muscles and allows them to finally relax. Hold for as long as you need!
2: Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Puppy is another wonderful one to stretch out those aching back muscles. It is easy to transition to this pose from Table position, as you just lower your chest to the floor. Be sure to keep your sitting bones in the air and your legs straight with your knees on the floor. Playful Puppy will soon become one of your favorites as it lengthens your spine, massages your back and tummy muscles, and allows you to take fuller, deeper breaths. Hold for one minute and breath easy.
3: Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Cat pose usually goes directly into Cow Pose as part of a Vinyara and is rarely done separate. For Cat Pose you simply start in Table, arch your back while lowering your head down. Be careful not to force your chin to your chest, as it could pull a neck muscle. Cat Pose it great for winding down as it stretches your back and neck. Its benefits also include a great tummy and spine massage!
4: Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
Cat Pose (above) goes directly and fluently into Cow Pose. Keep the sitting bones reaching for the ceiling as you reap all of the benefits! Cow pose will also give your back muscles a good stretch while massaging all of the organs within your tummy! Inhale Cat, exhale Cow, and repeat!
5: Bridge Pose
Bridge pose, whether with your hands clasped under you for a deeper stretch or splayed out at your side, is one of the best poses for the fatigued and overworked. You can truly feel the leg muscles at work as the breathing comes easier the more that your chest is opened. “I can breathe?!” Why, you ask? Bridge Pose stretches the chest and spine, gets rid of that over dramatized stress, and pumps up those lungs that have just been kind of hanging out and doing their job. The benefits don’t just stop there! It brings a sort of restoration to those tired legs that have been standing and walking for hours on end. This pose is also good for any headaches and asthma. As an added perk it aids in some good and thorough digestion!
6: Half Pigeon Pose
Half Pigeon Pose is the epitome of relaxation. Just don’t fall asleep in it! Also known as The Sleeping Swan (sounds elegant, doesn’t it) Pigeon Pose stretches the tired thigh and hip muscles, giving them a renewed strength. Fold one leg in front of you, and slide your other leg straight out back so the front of your thigh is on the mat. Now, to put that swan (or pigeon) to sleep slowly fold yourself forward, lying your chest down on top of that folded leg. After holding for one minute, switch sides!
7: Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose, not to be confused with Upward Facing Dog! With Cobra Pose leave the legs on the mat! Only the upper portion of your body will rise as you use your hands to push you up. This pose is a favorite for the exhausted and tired because of the stretch in the back and belly combined with the relaxation found in the shoulders and neck. The parts of our body that really seem to feel the tension from a day’s work are the shoulders and the neck. With Cobra Pose you can relax those shoulders down and feel the weight literally just melt away. Hold for several deep breaths and then you can transition easily into Downward Facing Dog!
8: Tree Pose
As we move along throughout our busy days, wherever we may be, we sometimes really feel the repercussions in the sciatica of all places. Tree Pose is one of the best at relieving any pains or problems in the sciatica and it also gets the leg muscles going again and helps with your balance. We kind of need that last one when we get so dizzy from running in our own personal circles! Find a focal point, place the base of your foot onto your opposite inner thigh, and then reach up high. Which tree will you be?
9: Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
This is a simple one, but if you’re just starting out it can be tricky. I would suggest watching how this is done and going step by step, as to not pull any muscles if you are a beginner. However, once you master the Lotus (Easy-seated Pose) it will become a favorite for stress relief at the end of a very long day. Lotus Pose is extremely calming to the mind and Spirit. You may even be able to spend some time with pieces of yourself that you never knew existed! Lotus stimulates your bones, stretches the ankles and knees, and eases a number of aches and pains. It was once said to be a cure all!
10: Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Ahhhhh, Savasana. The wonderful, magical Savasana that we have all at one time fell asleep during. That’s okay! It’s just doing its job! Corpse Pose is a powerful agent for calming the mind, allowing you to fold into yourself and finally and easily rest. As a big stress reliever is relaxes all the muscles in your body, all the way to the bones. It reduces headaches, fatigue, and lowers high blood pressure as an added bonus. So next time you fall asleep during this pose, just remember, the person next to you is probably asleep too.
So don’t worry next time you over extend your day because you thought you had time or could push an extra hour in. You have these ten stress relievers, a mug of tea, and a yoga mat waiting for you at home!