What you'll need: A pillow
Tip: With each pose, breathe in and out through your nose for a calming effect on the nervous system.
Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs
- Sit on floor with pillow in front of you. Bend left knee, bringing sole of left foot to right inner thigh. Lift butt and extend right leg behind you.
- Staying centered, gently hinge forward from hips, placing head on pillow. Extend arms forward, elbows slightly bent.
- Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Roll back up. Switch legs; repeat.
Targets: Back, hips, and hamstrings
- Lie faceup. Bend knees into chest and grab inside edges of feet with hands, palms out.
- Bring knees out to sides, then lower toward armpits, keeping heels above knees, feet flexed.
- Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, gently rocking from side to side.
Targets: Hips and legs
- Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms extended by sides, palms up.
- Keeping shoulders down, engage abs and press into heels to lift hips and back to form a diagonal line from shoulders to knees.
- Hold for 8 to 10 breaths; lower.
Seated Side Bend
Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, and obliques
- Sit on pillow in a cross-legged position. Place left hand on floor to side of hip, left elbow slightly bent. Extend right arm by ear.
- Lean to left, keeping butt on floor, shoulders down.
- Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Switch sides; repeat.
Targets: Neck, shoulders, back, and hips
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
- Place right hand on left elbow, left hand on right elbow.
- Bend over from hips, letting arms and head hang down.
- Hold for 8 to 10 breaths. Gently roll back up.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2009.