Body and Soul magazine came up with a brilliant idea, yoga and stretching poses that are targeted to each day of the week. All you need is 5 to 10 minutes to melt stress away.
Monday – Seal Pose
It stretches the belly and aids digestion; restores the curve in the lower back (great to counter long hours of sitting).
Lie on your stomach with your legs and feet relaxed. Then, reaching your arms forward along the floor, straighten them just enough to lift your torso into a gentle backbend. Do not strain or force; this should be a very passive and subtle stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then release. Repeat for 1 to 5 minutes.
Tuesday – Supported Seated Forward Bend
Stretches hamstrings and inner thighs; releases tension along the spine. Quiets the mind and promotes focus; stimulates the sixth chakra, which activates intuition and wisdom.
Sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs extended on either side of a chair. Fold forward at the hips and rest your forehead and arms on the seat of the chair. Take deep, slow breaths through your nose and hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Wednesday – Supported Goddess
Releases tight hips, stretching the groin muscles; connects you to the grounding energy of the root chakra, located at the base of your spine.
Lie on your back with the bottoms of your feet touching and knees splayed to the sides, resting on pillows or rolled blankets. Feel your spine on the floor. Place your palms on your belly or rest your arms out to the sides, palms up. Let your belly slowly rise and fall with each breath. Remain here for 3 to 5 minutes, or however long you like.
Thursday – Supported Pigeon
Opens the hips and groin. Quiets the mind and promotes emotional release. When we sit all day, our hips get congested, this pose helps us let go of stress and pent-up emotions that build up in the body.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor, swing your left leg around, extending it straight out behind you, tops of the feet and toes against the floor. Fold forward at the hips. For added support, put a folded blanket or pillow under the right hip. Rest your forehead on a cushion or blanket and relax into the pose for 2 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the other leg.
Friday – Supported Child’s Pose
Releases the muscles in the back; gently opens the hips; boosts your energy.
Sit back on your heels with your legs folded under you and the tops of your feet on the floor. Open the knees wide and bend forward at the hips. Rest your forehead (or your chest) on a pillow or blanket and keep your arms slightly bent. If your buttocks don’t reach your heels, place a blanket under your thighs. Relax and breathe deeply for 3 to 5 minutes.
Saturday – Supported Reclined Twist
Helps the whole body (including the hips, spine, digestive system, nervous system, shoulders, and chest) unwind; promotes digestion and detoxification.
Lie on your back, dropping your left knee across your body to rest on a pillow or blanket. Shift your hips right to avoid over-twisting the lower back. Rest your arms, elbows soft, on the floor over your head. Turn your head in whichever direction feels most comfortable and breathe into this gentle stretch for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
Sunday – Supported Fish
Stretches the shoulders, neck, and chest; improves posture and deepens breathing, countering a forward hunch. Opens the heart and the throat chakras, bolstering courage and encouraging authentic expression.
Roll up a thin blanket and lie on your back, resting your shoulder blades on the blanket. If your head doesn’t comfortably reach the floor, place another blanket or small pillow underneath. Let your breath rise and fall naturally, and stay here for 3 to 5 minutes, or as long as you like.