Jessica Alba Decompressed from the Holiday Weekend with These Relaxing Yoga Poses
The actress took a "little time to breathe and stretch out the holiday food/drank" after her family's Thanksgiving celebration.
Finding time to work out during the holidays can be tough for even the most passionate fitness enthusiasts. But Jessica Alba just made the case for carving out time for self-care after carving the turkey, serving some major inspiration to hit the yoga mat as a way to relax and de-stress after holiday celebrations.
Alba posted photos of her Thanksgiving feast on Instagram after enjoying "yummy food, good times, and lots of laughs playing Pictionary" with her loved ones—but not before sharing videos of her post-holiday yoga flow. (Related: Jessica Alba and Her 11-Year-Old Daughter Took a 6 A.M. Cycling Class Together)
In the video, Alba and Jones flow through several restorative yoga poses and later appear to be doing a variation of a Sun Salutation B sequence—an excellent way to take care of your mind and body after a busy holiday, says Monisha Bhanote, M.D., a triple board-certified physician and Yoga Medicine® teacher. (Related: The Essential Yoga Poses for Beginners)
Alba began her flow with a classic child's pose, a movement that can help to relax the muscles in the front of the body while passively stretching the muscles in the back body, explains Dr. Bhanote. "This pose can be very calming for the mind after a busy holiday weekend," allowing you "to turn inward and focus on yourself," she says. Plus, resting your stomach on your thighs in this pose can be beneficial for digestion, she notes—something that can certainly help after enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving meal.
Next, Alba can be seen doing a cat-cow pose with thread the needle. "The cat-cow pose wakes up the spine and brings flexibility and warmth to it, helping to create postural awareness," explains Dr. Bhanote. Thread the needle, on the other hand, helps to release tension between the shoulder blades, as well as in the neck and back, she says. By combining these two poses, "you can flex, extend, and rotate your spine all in one," which can feel especially wonderful after being on your feet for hours cooking up a holiday meal or helping to serve loved ones at a party. (Related: 10 Benefits of Yoga That Make the Workout Totally Badass)
During her post-holiday flow, Alba also performed the classic downward dog, an inversion that can help to boost circulation throughout the body, says Dr. Bhanote. "[Downward dog] stretches the back of the legs, strengthens the arms, and elongates the spine while bringing awareness to your breath," she adds. (Try these 3 breathing exercises the next time you're stressed.)
The L.A.'s Finest actress then moved her way into a low lunge with her arms in a goal post position (elbows open to sides at shoulder level). "This pose gives a deep stretch as it engages the quadriceps, hamstrings, groin, hips, and thighs," explains Dr. Bhanote. "Just like other heart-openers, it improves breathing, increases blood circulation, enhances oxygen supply to the organs and muscles, and can improve digestion."
Alba then performed a variation of a Sun Salutation B sequence, including movements like mountain pose, chair pose, warrior I, warrior II, and reverse warrior in her flow. "Doing sun salutations awakens the mind and body," says Dr. Bhanote. These movements, when done regularly, can help to improve blood circulation, allowing oxygen to nourish the muscles throughout your body—something that can feel especially restorative after a hectic holiday weekend.
Following this sequence, Alba moved into boat pose, which can not only strengthen your abdominal muscles, but can also improve balance and digestion by stimulating the kidneys, thyroid, and intestines, explains Dr. Bhanote. (Related: The Biggest Mental and Physical Benefits of Working Out)
Alba finished her flow with a classic plank and side plank, a combo that can help to build core strength from all directions, says Dr. Bhanote. "Having a strong core allows the muscles to work more efficiently," she explains. "A strong core makes it easier to do other physical activities and can help prevent muscle injuries and improve back pain."
Feeling inspired by Alba? Try your hand at these advanced yoga poses to revamp your Vinyasa routine.