Did you just spend the weekend in the desert at Coachella? Are you heading back out to the desert for Stagecoach? Maybe you’re hitting festivals later in the summer? Maybe you’re not into festivals but you fly somewhere to vacation or work and you’ve been in a plane for a while? or a car? Any of these sound like a situation you’d find yourself in?
Here are my 6 favorite poses to recalibrate myself after a journey, an intense weekend, a busy week, or just when I’m feeling just a little bit wonky for no apparent reason.
1. Bitilasana/Marjaryasana (Cow/Cat Poses)
What a wonderful way to reinvigorate your spinal column! Beginning in tabletop, with your hips directly over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists, find neutral spine. Lift your belly towards your back-body to support your spine and keep your neck long, looking about 6 inches in front of you. On an inhale, drop your belly down, pulling your shoulder blades together on the back and towards your hips, as you lift your tail slightly, as well as your gaze, and pull your chest forward through your upper arms. Cow pose! On an exhale, pull your belly to your spine a lot and dome your back, tucking your tail underneath you and letting your head and neck go completely. Cat pose! Move between these two, linking breath to movement.
**Do 4-6 rounds with deep, smooth breaths.
- roll your body around the center axis to connect these cow and cat movements in a circle more than up down movements.
- try inhaling for Cat and exhaling for Cow!
- to stretch the sides of your body a bit, from neutral spine, look over your right shoulder, pulling it back in space a bit, as you stick your right booty out to the right side a bit more, making kind of a half moon shape and stretching the left side of your body. Repeat on the other side.
1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Keeping a generous bend in your knees, let your upper body droop over your legs, your chest is probably on your thighs and that is all good. Root down a lot through all four corners of your feet and let your neck and head release.
**Take 8-10 deep breaths and then bending your knees generously, roll up to standing, slowing, feeling each of your vertebrae stack.
- hold onto opposite elbows and sway side to side.
- clasp your hands at your lower back and as you bend forward, take your arms up and over your head.
- if you feel comfortable and malleable here, try to wrap your forearms around the back of your calves.
3. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
Beginning in a plank, lift your right foot, bring your knee forward towards your chest, create space in your upper body (like cat pose!) and lunge your right foot forward between your hands release your left knee down to the ground, untuck your left toes. Your right knee should be at a right angle to your ankle. Coming up onto your fingertips, create that space again in the upper body and by peeling away the belly from the right thigh, pull your arms up into the air with your biceps next to your ears and your hands facing in towards one another. Root down from your hips down through your base (left top of the foot, left knee and right foot) and then grow from that space, upwards the sky, growing both sides of your body taller, while still releasing your shoulders away from your ears.
Take 5-7 deep breaths here and then release your hands down next to your front foot, return to plank and repeat on the other side.
- bring your hands interlaced to the nape of your neck and pull your heart forward and up, coming into a tiny backbend
- spread your arms out beside you in a cactus shape to open your chest
4. Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
Standing very tall, bring all of your weight to the left foot and lift the right foot into tree pose. Press the foot into the standing leg a lot as you press the standing leg back into the foot. Find that center of energy and bring your prayer hands to your heart. You may grow your hands up and out like a tree if you wish!
** Take 10-12 breaths here and then slowly and gently release and repeat on the other side.
- if balance is proving to be difficult, you are welcome to try a kickstand tree, where your balanced foot never leaves the ground, but instead the toes create a kickstand against your standing leg.
- if you are super balanced, challenge yourself to bring your gaze higher than the horizon, maybe up to the sky, even right above you, or even more challenging, try closing your eyes!
5. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Lie down on your back and make sure you’re in a comfortable spot. Bring the insides of your feet together and your knees wide. Release your knees out towards the sides. You are welcome to place a block/sweatshirt/pillow/something under each knee if you feel too tight to hang out here. Release your arms by your sides
**Breathe! Try to stay for at least two minutes, concentrating on your breath and really opening those knees out to the side, sinking into the ground, feeling the whole back release down.
- bring your arms up overhead and clasp opposite elbows above your head
- straighten your arms overhead and interlace your fingers, bending over to the right and then left to create that crescent moon shape and to stretch out the sides of the body
6. Legs up … on something!
Talk about a back release! If you have a wall available, legs up the wall is really lovely. If there’s no wall a couch will do, or a chair, or a stool, or a tree, you can get creative with this one! If you have a wall, sit next to the wall with one hip against the wall. Then releasing back onto your forearms, face your booty to the wall and start to climb your legs up the wall. Starting so close to the wall will help create that real right angle at your hips for optimal release.
**Deepen your breath and stay here for at least 2 minutes. Your legs will start to feel very light, maybe tingly, it’s okay, breathe through the strange sensations and when you release, do it slowly and gently!
Please give these a try and if you post any of them, tag me and hashtag #movewithkiki and #yogawithkiki so I can see!
Also, drink SO much water! Always 🙂
Clothing: RBX Active