Sometimes, you just can’t squeeze an entire exercise session into your hectic schedule. But, if you can carve out five minutes before work, these three yoga poses can ease muscle tension, invigorate you, and jumpstart your day no matter how jam-packed your calendar is.

So, grab your yoga mat and get moving!

 

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

From a kneeling position, move your knees apart so that they’re about the width of your mat and keep your toes together underneath you. Next, place your chest on your thighs and lay your forehead on your mat. Then, stretch your arms long in front of you and let your whole body rest in this position.

While you’re in child’s pose, slowly inhale through your nose and fill your lungs with air. Notice how your back widens as you deepen your breath. Slowly exhale through your nose and try to sink deeper into the pose. Repeat this cycle of breaths five to 10 times. For additional ways to tailor this posture to your needs, check out Howcast’s video, How to Do a Child’s Pose.

2. Cat-Cow Pose (Bidalasana)

From child’s pose, press into a tabletop position with your shoulders and wrists in alignment and your hips directly above your knees. Activate your abdominals by drawing them towards your spine to support your back and press your shoulders away from your ears. Inhale as you arch your back, tilt your tailbone to the sky, and lift your head. Then, exhale as you round your spine, point the tailbone towards the ground, and curve your neck. Repeat this sequence of movements five to 10 times. Feel the muscles of your spine release as you flow from one position to the other.

To learn ways you can modify this pose and build core strength, view Howcast’s video, How to Do Cat-Cow Pose for Energy.

 

3. Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From tabletop, tuck your toes under and raise your hips to the ceiling. Stretch your arms straight, but don’t lock your elbows. Make sure your fingers are spread out wide (like starfish), and evenly distribute your weight between both hands. Aim your chest towards your thighs as you keep your hips lifted; you’re body will create a triangle with the floor as its base. Don’t worry if your heels don’t make it all the way to the mat—your form is more important than how far you can stretch in the pose. Inhale deeply through your nose, and then, exhale through your nose as well. Remain in this pose for five to 10 breaths.

Downward-facing dog is a common pose you’ll encounter in almost every yoga practice. This Downward-Facing Dog Yoga Tutorial by YogaApproved takes you through a series of do’s and don’ts to achieve the maximum benefit from the posture.

After you’ve completed the last pose, come to a standing position. Take three deep breaths and roll your shoulders backward three times (or whatever feels good to you). Now, you’re ready to go about your day with a positive, calm mindset.

 

Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio

Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is a Chicago-based, freelance lifestyle writer, licensed occupational therapist, and certified Pilates instructor. Her expertise is in health, wellness, fitness, and chronic illness management.

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