Put your feet up!

yoga_Dec11_AAfter a hard day running around, or even a time spent in a sedentary job, which can be just as tiring, you might want to put your feet up and get the blood flowing. But before you slump in front of the TV relaxing on the sofa, why not ease the tension in your legs with a couple of yoga poses that will really refresh and revitalize your lower body?

Have you ever noticed that if you are experiencing stress and tiredness in one part of the body then you can often feel it radiate out to the rest of your body? Often, we feel pressure in our legs because we are constantly pounding down on them as we walk and when we exercise. Even sitting, especially if your position is not great, can leave you with heavy legs where you feel the need to get the circulation going properly again.

Yoga has many powerful strengthening poses but also encourages full bodily relaxation and restoration too. The holistic approach leaves the whole body feeling good by undoing tension and easing physical and mental stresses.

We’ve already looked at the benefits of resting your legs up against the wall and just how restorative and calming this can be. There are other poses that also give your legs a break.

Happy Baby Pose

There is a simplicity and fun sense of relaxation with the Happy Baby Pose and it is a great pose for beginners too. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your belly as you exhale.
  • Grab your feet with both hands on the outer edge as you inhale.
  • Let the knees open out slightly, but not too wide. Bring the knees up toward the armpits as they widen. Feel comfortable in this position first before moving to the next stage.
  • With your hands still gripping your feet, bring your lower legs up. Your ankles should be raised and over your knees. As you push your feet up, feel the resistance against your hands.
  • Whilst not complex, if you find it difficult to keep hold of your feet then use a yoga belt to wrap across the soles of the feet, so you don’t have to reach so far, and pull on the belt when you are in position to create resistance.

V Pose

The V Pose is not the easiest pose to get into at first, so don’t worry if you find yourself wobbling to get into position. However, it can be a great way to stretch the whole legs and really wake up and relax your limbs at the same time. But it can be done, here’s how:

  • Sit down with the soles of your feet on your mat and your knees bent. With your hands on your mat by your hips, lean back a little, raise the feet up and extend the legs so that they are raised off the mat.
  • With your legs still not touching the mat, bend your knees in toward your body, before reaching between your legs and gripping each big toe with your fingers. Loop the fingers round each toe so that you can hold on more easily.
  • Focus on your back by straightening the spine and lifting your upper body so that it moves closer toward your legs. You should have a feeling of being pulled up as you balance on your seat area only.
  • Straighten the legs so that your body creates a V shape. Take your time with this, ensuring that when you move the legs out that the back is straight and there is no sagging in the upper body area. Focus on lengthening your torso so that you don’t feel hunched up and you can really stretch into position.
  • Once you are fully extended, hold the pose before relaxing on an exhale as you bring the knees in first to instantly relax the resistance.
  • It is vital in this pose that your back is straight and less important that your legs are straight. In other words, straight legs and a curved spine mean you’re not doing it properly.
  • Make sure the shoulders are relaxed as they tend to hunch too during this pose, and add a blanket behind your lower back to offer that little extra support.

Next week, we look at how to do a shoulder stand and the benefits it can bring. To improve or begin your yoga journey, get in touch with us first.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.