Take a quick break to rejuvenate your mind and body for optimal performance
The days may seem longer during summer months, but for most people, that doesn't translate into more time to relax. Between barbecues, beach days, entertaining relatives, travel, and that place you go every day from nine to five (at the very least), this time of year can send stress levels soaring. But there's a simple and effective solution: 10 minutes of yoga.
By taking just 10 minutes during the day to do a few yoga postures and deep breathing, you'll feel calm, relaxed, and rejuvenated. Plus, yoga provides an array of health benefits that improve your daily life. For example: Yoga reduces inflammation and oxidative stress (which helps minimize signs of aging), boosts "feel-good" chemicals in the brain, strengthen immunity, improves posture, combats depression, and increases energy levels.
So the next time you feel overwhelmed, try this 10-minute routine. It's like hitting the reset button on your crazy day. Hold each pose for at least 5 deep breaths and repeat the entire series 3 times.
How to do it: Shift your weight onto your left leg. Draw your right knee into your chest, grab your ankle, and press the bottom of your right foot onto your left thigh. If you feel wobbly keep your hand on your ankle while it's pressed into your thigh. If you're finding your balance really easily, press your palms together in front of your chest. Drop your shoulders down and back and pick one point to keep your eyes on the entire time. Stay in this pose for 5 slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.
How to do it: Step your left foot to the back of your mat and press down through your feet, bringing your torso up, aligning your shoulders above your hips. From this high lunge, spin your back heel so your foot is planted on the ground, turn your right toes to face your front and your left toes slightly in so your hips and shoulders are facing your torso, right arm in front of you, and left arm behind you, palms down. Look over your front hand. Stay here for 5 long, deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
How to do it: Begin in warrior II with your right leg in front, right knee bent. Lower your left hand to your left leg and slide it down toward your ankle. Turn your right palm toward the ceiling and arc your right arm up overhead, reaching back behind you, without moving your legs. Turn your gaze up. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
Lower your right arm and lift your left arm until both are shoulder height, palms facing down, returning to warrior II. Switch sides and repeat.
How to do it: Hug your left shin into your chest, then extend it straight back behind you so it's parallel to the ground. Flex your left foot and point the toes down. Bring your fingertips to the ground to stabilize yourself. Reach your arms out in front of you so your body is in a straight line from your fingertips all the way down your back and out through your left heel. Keep a slight bend in your standing knee and keep your core and legs engaged the entire time. Stay here for 5 long breaths. Hinge at the hips to come up to standing and switch sides.
If you have time, spend a few extra minutes in a seated position and focus on your breathing. Try not to let your mind wander to your to-do list, but if you do, simply recognize it and then bring the focus back to your breath. I like to stare at the flame of a candle to help keep my mind clear.
Inhale for 5 seconds.
Hold for 5 seconds.
Exhale for 5 seconds.
Repeat for a few rounds.
Yoga and breathing exercises have been an incredible help to me. My busy days are still hectic, but my approach is different. I focus on what's right in front of me without feeling stressed over how much I need to get done. After 10 minutes of yoga, I have more energy, my concentration improves, and overall I feel lighter.