June 21st is not only the first day of summer, but also National Yoga Day! This annual celebration of yoga began in 2015 and has since been practiced by many all over the world! Yoga has a range of health benefits from strengthening all the major and minor muscles, regulating digestion, improving balance, posture, mental health, and much more! Since there are so many variations of each pose yoga is a friendly workout for all ages! Here are a few poses you can do in your office (or anywhere really) and the benefits associated with each pose!
- Tree pose-Stand with your feet hip width apart and keep a neutral spine. Inhale and raise both arms straight up. This pose aids in posture and elongating the spine.
- Forward Fold- start in tree pose and on and exhale slowly bend over trying to reach your toes. For this pose you want to keep your back flat and not curved; if you cannot reach the floor/your feet, you may use a block or a book to help you reach the floor so that your back remains flat. This pose also aids with elongating the spine and loosens tight hamstrings.
- Standing Cat-Cow- for this pose you want to stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and a neutral spine in one line. Take a deep inhale while arching your back. When you exhale, slowly round out your back like a scared cat. Repeat as many times as necessary. This pose helps you feel more relaxed, strengthens the core stretches out the back and in the long term helps expand your lung capacity.
- Standing Twist- stand straight with arms straight up and a neutral spine. Take a deep breath, while keeping your hips facing forward bring your arms to a “T” and begin to twist. Exhale as you twist. Return to your neutral position and repeat twisting motion on other side. Standing twist may help you “crack” your back, but the benefit of this pose is releasing any tension in the rear deltoids and shoulders.
- Chair pose- Begin standing with feet shoulder width apart and a neutral spine. Raise your arms and begin to sit back into a squat as if you were sitting in a chair. Be sure to not let your knees pass your toes, and keep a neutral straight spine. Inhale and exhale deeply. Hold for as long is comfortable. Chair pose actually benefits the whole body including core, quads, glutes, and the spine!
Happy Yoga Day!