Slow down and reap the balancing benefits of these restorative yoga moves.
Daily tasks—like sitting at a desk for long hours or bending over to pick up clutter—take a toll on your body and can knock your frame out of whack. That’s where these easy-to-master moves come in. Krissy Jones, cofounder of Sky Ting Yoga in New York City and a Nike Master Trainer, describes them as alignment-based postures, designed to counteract everyday wear and tear on your body. “When you do them regularly, you restore the body to its most optimal state and remove tension,” she explains. The result: a more relaxed, balanced you.
Start on all fours with legs together and toes tucked. Slowly lower your hips back and down until your butt is resting on your heels. Interlace fingers and flip palms so they are facing outward; then reach arms straight overhead. Release your total body weight down onto your heels.
Lunge with armpit clearing
From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward between your hands; then lower your left knee down to mat. Make sure your right knee is directly over the right heel, creating a 90-degree angle in the knee. Place your right armpit directly on top of the right knee, bend your right elbow, and make a fist with your right hand. Using your right kneecap as a tool, massage your right armpit by making circles, clockwise and then counterclockwise, around the knee.
Supported wide-leg forward fold
Stand slightly behind a horizontally placed block at its low or medium height with feet on either side. Step your feet out wide into a straddle stance with your heels on the same plane and your feet parallel to each other. Take your hands to your hips, and on an inhale, look up toward the ceiling. As you exhale, fold forward from the hips with a long spine, lowering hands to touch the ground. See if the crown of your head can come to the block, raising the block, lowering it down, or adding another block until it is under your head.
Prayer hands shoulder stretch
Kneel with knees together, and place a block between your feet on the low or medium horizontal level. Sit on the block, keeping your feet hugged close to it. Bring your hands behind you to the middle of your back, and press your palms together, creating a prayer shape. Try to get your whole hands pressing equally into each other.
King pigeon pose
From Downward Dog, bring your right knee toward your right hand with your shin almost parallel to the top of mat; lower leg. Extend your left leg behind you, kneecap and foot on floor. Press through your fingertips as you lift your torso and place a folded blanket under right hip. Bend your left knee to raise lower leg. Place your left hand in front of you; then reach your right arm back. Grab left ankle, and twist torso to right. Keep foot flexed.
Sit down with legs stretched out in front of you and hands by the hips. Slowly lower yourself down onto a horizontally placed block at its low or medium height; allow your head to touch the mat. Bring arms overhead, crossing your right elbow underneath your left and winding your arms around each other so that the left palm holds onto the right wrist and the right palm presses into the mat behind your head.
Lie faceup with knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Pressing firmly into feet, lift your hips straight up; then slide two stacked, horizontally placed blocks, both at their lowest height, underneath your sacrum. Keeping your head and shoulders on the floor along with arms at sides and palms faceup, bring the right knee into the chest, followed by the left knee. Next, extend both legs straight up; keep feet flexed.
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Supported prone savasana
In the center of the mat, place two blocks together horizontally and at their medium height. Lie facedown on the mat with feet slightly apart and the blocks beneath the pubic bone and hip creases. Extend arms overhead, allowing a slight bend in elbows into a cactus shape; turn head to one side.
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