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Stressed from the holidays?

Try some gentle yoga poses that can be done anywhere you have a little floor space for your yoga mat. 

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Cat/Cow

Cat/Cow is a dynamic yoga movement that links breath with movement. It flows through two poses that warm up the spine, relax low back muscles, hip muscles, pelvic floor muscles, and calms the nervous system. 

How to do it:

Start in a tabletop position, with hands and knees on the mat.  Make sure the wrists are under the shoulders and hips are over the knees. Close your eyes and notice if you are placing more weight on your wrists, on the knees, on the left or the right side. If you notice any imbalances, balance your weight evenly. 

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Cow Pose: Inhale, the belly will drop towards the mat as the tailbone and the chin will both rise up towards the sky. 

Cat Stretch: Exhale, rounding the spine, chin drops towards the chest and tailbone tucks under.

Complete as many cycles as you like, ideally at least 10 cycles, moving slowly as you link your breath to the movement. 

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Child’s Pose

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Child’s Pose is a very restful and can provide a nice stretch through the low back and hips.

How to do it:

Start in a tabletop position, with hands and knees on the mat. Sit back on to the heels, separating the knees slightly. Walk the fingertips forward to deepen the stretch through the back muscles.

Hold for 30 seconds-a few minutes

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Hamstring Stretch

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This pose will provide a nice stretch through the hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can often cause discomfort in the low back and hips.

How to do it:

Start laying on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the mat. 
Bring one leg up towards the ceiling, clasping your hands behind the thigh.

Hold for 30 - 90 seconds

Figure 4 Stretch

This pose will stretch the piriformis muscle, which is often the culprit of hip discomfort and can contribute to sciatic nerve discomfort.

How to do it:

Start laying on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the mat. 
Cross the left ankle over the right thigh.
Clasp your hands behind the right thigh, or across the front of the shin, as shown.

Repeat on the other side.

Hold for 30 - 90 seconds

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Happy Baby Pose

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This pose is great for opening up the pelvic floor and the low back.

How to do it:

Start laying on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the mat. 
Reach the hands towards the feet, or behind the thighs. Keep the feet flexed towards the ceiling.

Hold for 30 - 90 seconds

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Sacral Massage

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This pose is great for opening up the low back and provides the sacral area a gentle massage.

How to do it:

Start laying on your back, with knees bent and feet flat on the mat. 
Hug the knees towards the chest. Gently rock side to side, releasing the low back muscles and providing the low back area a gently massage.

Rock and roll gently for 30 - 90 seconds

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Seated Forward Fold

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This pose will stretch the hamstrings, traction the spine, and also stretch the shoulders.

How to do it:

Sit on your mat or the floor with the legs straight in front of you. You may also use a folded blanket under the glutes for support. Inhale, sitting up very tall. Exhale, hinge forward at the hips and reach the hands towards the knees, shins, ankles, or soles of the feet. Only go as far as is easy, without any painful pulling. Do not force it!

Hold for 30 - 90 seconds

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Seated Spinal Twist

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This pose will encourage mobility in the spinal column, tone the belly, massage the organs, and can relieve tension in the low back.

How to do it:

Sit on your mat or the floor with the legs straight in front of you. You may use a folded blanket under the glutes for support.

Bend the right knee, cross the right foot across midline and place the foot to the outside of the left thigh. Inhale, sitting up very tall. Exhale, twist the abdomen towards the bent right knee. You can hook your left arm around your bent right knee. Take a few deep breaths, with each exhale, try to twist a tiny bit more.

Gently release from the pose and then repeat on the other side.

Hold for 30 - 90 seconds

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Want more yoga?

Come in for a private yoga session today.

 

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      My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs...

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