This De-Stressing Yoga Sequence Will Make You Feel Calmer and Lighter in Just 10 Minutes
Close your eyes, take a long deep breath, and slowly exhale. Feel a little better? Good. Now keep that feeling going for 10 minutes while you move through this calming yoga sequence. It’ll give you a much-needed break from any stress you may be experiencing, and taking a few minutes for self-care can help you feel recharged and better able to face any other stress life may throw your way with more patience, positivity, and love.
- Come onto your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged.
- Take a breath in, and as you exhale, round your spine up to the ceiling, pulling your abs toward your spine, and simultaneously tuck in your tailbone (don’t clench your tush) and tuck your chin toward your chest.
- As you inhale, let your belly soften, arch your back, and lift your head and tailbone. This part of the stretch is called cow.
- Continue flowing back and forth from cat to cow, breathing deeply so as not to rush each movement.
- Repeat for five deep breaths, which is about 30 seconds.
Relaxed Down Dog
- From Cat Cow, lift your knees off the mat, coming into Down Dog, with a slight bend in the knees.
- Stay like this for five breaths.
Low Crescent Lunge
- From Relaxed Down Dog, step the right foot forward between the hands.
- Inhale to raise the arms up (or rest them on the hips if that’s more comfortable), sinking the pelvis toward the floor to intensify the stretch in the hips.
- Enjoy this stretch for five deep breaths.
Open Revolved Extended Side Angle
- From Low Crescent Lunge, lower your left palm to the floor beside your right foot.
- Reach your right arm behind you, opening your palm toward the ceiling. Really lean your weight into your left hand, and allow your right shoulder to drift back as much as possible to deepen the stretch.
- Hold this position, breathing into the pose for five breaths.
Lifted Head to Knee
- From Open Revolved Extended Side Angle, exhale to return the right hand back to the mat as you shift your hips back to your left heel, straightening the right leg and folding forward with both feet flexed.
- Enjoy this hamstring stretch for five deep breaths.
- Then repeat the last three poses on the left side: Low Crescent Lunge, Open Revolved Extended Side Angle, and Lifted Head to Knee.
- After doing Lifted Head to Knee, lie on your stomach with the legs parallel behind you. Extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you lift your head up off the ground, slowly walk your hands in, keeping your hips and thighs on the ground but gently arching your lower back. Walk them in as far as you want, keeping your elbows slightly bent. If your back is really flexible, you can begin to straighten your arms.
- Actively roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears, elongating your neck. Keep looking in front of you, or if you want more of a chest stretch, drop your head back between your shoulder blades.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, making sure to relax all your muscles.
Wide Child's Pose
- From Cobra, bend your knees out wide, sitting on your shins.
- Fold forward between your thighs and completely relax your chin or forehead on the floor, either with your arms by your legs or extended in front of you.
- Hold for five deep breaths.
- From Wide Child’s Pose, come to sit up and bend both knees, bringing the soles of your feet together.
- Use your hands to open your feet up like a book, pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch, walk your hands out in front of you.
- Stay here for five breaths.
- After doing Butterfly, extend the legs out into a wide straddle.
- With straight legs and a straight back, slowly hinge at the hips, reaching out with the chest to prevent the spine from rounding.
- Rest your hands on your legs or on the floor.
- Only fold as far as you can with straight legs, then hold here for five breaths.
- From Seated Straddle, bend your left knee and place it on top of your bent right leg so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. Keeping the shins parallel, flex the feet to feel a stretch in the calves.
- Press your fingertips into the floor behind your pelvis. To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest over your legs.
- Enjoy this stretch for five breaths.
Seated Spinal Twist
- From Double Pigeon, pull the right heel in toward the left hip and slide your left heel to the floor beside your right knee so your left knee points up toward the ceiling.
- Plant your left palm on the floor a few inches away from your pelvis. Bend your right elbow and press it firmly against your outer left thigh, increasing the twist even further.
- Enjoy this pose for five breaths. Then repeat Double Pigeon and this Seated Spinal Twist on the other side.
- From Seated Spinal Twist, lay flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, palms facing down. Bend your knees, placing your heels as close as you can to your pelvis.
- With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Keep your palms on the mat or clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms. Or you can also bend your elbows and rest your hands on your lower back as shown in this photo. If your feet are close enough, you can also hold your ankles.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, lifting your hips up as high as you can.
- After enjoying Half Wheel, release your hips back to the floor. Place your left ankle on your right thigh above your knee. See the shape of the number four upside down?
- Reach your left hand through the open space created by your left leg and clasp your hands around your right shin. Slowly pull your right knee in toward your chest. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your right hip.
- After five breaths, repeat on the other side.