This article was first published on July 12, 2017.
Many avid yogis tend to believe that you have to stand up to do yoga. Or that you need to get into highly acrobatic and unstable poses in order to feel the real benefit of a good yoga workout. The truth is, yoga is all about finding balance, and if you are high-intensity in your daily life, it’s good to get a break from that and actually try to relax. Yoga sitting poses or asanas are ideal for relaxation because they keep your blood pressure down and make you connect directly with the earth beneath you. A simple 20-minute seated asana practice can work wonders and be truly complementary with any high-intensity workout that might be part of your routine. And the best of all: you can pretty much do these yoga sitting poses anywhere!
1. Baddha Konasana
Butterfly pose is a great way to stretch out your hips, improve circulation, and get grounded. Simply sit down on the floor with your legs straight ahead. Inhale, and bend your knees so that the bottom of your feet touch each other. Now exhale. Breathe into the pose for one minute, then stretch out your legs and repeat four more times.
Seated forward bend is a great way to release stress and stretch out your spine and hamstrings. Just sit down with your legs straight in front of you. Flex your feet to the ceiling, inhale, and gently start bending at the hip. The goal is not to touch your knees with your nose but rather to start folding as far as you get until your back is rounding. With every inhale, bend a little further, and with every exhale, relax into the pose. Hold the pose once you can’t bend any further for 2 to 3 minutes.
Cow Face Pose is a great way to stretch all your joints, as well as hamstrings and triceps. Start by sitting down and bending your knees with feet on the floor. Now inhale and cross your right leg over your left leg. Exhale. Now inhale and stretch your right arm out to the right, rotate the thumb towards the floor and bend it behind your back. Then exhale. Inhale and stretch your left arm forward, turn the palm up, exhale, inhale and bend the elbow behind your back to reach your right hand. If you can’t reach your other hand, just place the hand on your back. It’s important to still sit comfortably on the floor so don’t push too much. Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes.
The diamond pose is great to relax your stomach and stretch your thighs, legs, hips, and knees as well as feet and ankles. Start by sitting on your knees with an upright spine. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your soles turned toward the ceiling. Hold the pose for 1 or 2 minutes, then take a break and get into again for another 1 or 2 minutes.
Have you tried these yoga sitting poses to stretch and de-stress?
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Photo: Isabelle Steichen