Got two minutes?
Good! Do some yoga!
Full hour yoga classes are very few and far between these days. In truth, I have been to one, count em, one yoga class since I was pregnant. BUT I try to do yoga in small snippets whenever I can.
I like this little routine because it’s super fast and effective in relieving any tight back muscles. It’s basically a standing variation of down dog, cat/cow and cobra, which makes it a great routine if you are pregnant too!
First, start by holding on to the back of your couch, or table, or counter, or whatever the hell you want – as long as it can really hold your weight. Then bend your knees and put your weight into your heels, and move your bottom away from the couch, giving your shoulders a nice stretch and warming up your back and legs. Sky, the healthy doggie, likes to participate in yoga time too.
Then straighten your legs and press your chest towards the floor and your shoulder blades together.
This is a modified Down Dog. Your feet should be hip distance apart. The more you drop your chest down, the deeper the stretch will be. Make sure your back is flat. You can experiment with the intensity of the stretch based on how far away your feet are from the couch. The more you move them away, the deeper the stretch will be in your calves.
And make sure you are breathing! As long as you are breathing you are doing yoga, no matter what your body looks like in the pose.
The next pose is a nice side stretch and stretch for your spine – such a great stretch if you have a tendency to carry your baby on your hip. You are making a C shape, or a crescent shape, with your upper body. Stretch on one side and then the other. Use the the couch and the floor for resistance to get a deeper stretch.
Next is cat/cow. The picture above is of cat pose, its called that, because you arch your back up like a scared cat. Tuck your pelvis under and move your chin to your chest. Again, use the couch and the floor as resistance. You should feel a stretch all down your spine and in between your shoulder blades.
For cow you keep your hands on the couch (or you can put them on your knees) like you have been and bring your pelvis to the couch, so your hip bones are touching the couch. Your legs are pretty straight, but can have a bend in them if that is more comfortable for you. Your elbows are bent and your shoulders are down, rolled away from your ears. You are looking up at the ceiling. This is a great stretch to open up your chest and shoulders.
Now go do some yoga!
All Photos Credit: Author
Stephanie Brandt Cornais is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor, Doula, and Childbirth Educator. You can learn more about her here. She blogs about natural parenting, real food, yoga, personal fitness and DIY. You can find her at Mama and Baby Love.