5 yoga poses to help you wind down

Long week at work? Now it’s time to wind down with this yoga sequence. Listen to your heartbeat, take time coming in and out of poses and feel each breath as it moves through the body.

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Supported bridge

Start by lying on your back. Pull the knees up into the chest and slowly rock side-to-side, massaging out through the lower back. Release the knees, placing the feet on the floor at hip width. Pull the heels back in towards your buttocks – you should be able to touch the backs of the heels with your fingertips.

Place the hands beside you; as you inhale, pull in through the belly, activating the core and as you exhale, lift the hips up into Bridge pose. Keeping the knees inline with your ankles, pull the muscles in the legs towards each other to relax through the glutes. Option to place the heels of the palms in the small of your back with the fingertips pointing outwards into Supported Bridge. Exhale slowly, roll down the spine.

BENEFIT: Reduces backache and headaches. Rejuvenates tired legs and calms the central nervous system.


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Wheel pose

Place the hands beside the head with the fingertips pointing towards the shoulders. Keep the feet in the same position, with the toes slightly pigeon toed. You want to become super active in the feet; think of these as your powerhouse. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale, send the hips up high into the air into Wheel pose. Relax through the neck and keep the muscles in the legs moving towards each other, relaxing the glutes. Move the chest through you shoulders and breathe for eight deep inhales and exhales. When you’re ready, roll down the spine and relax into the floor, resisting the urge to move. Just sit with it and have a listen to your heartbeat.

BENEFIT: Stimulates the thyroid glands, relieves low back pain.


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Shoulder stand

Pull the knees into the chest, placing the hands down beside your body. Lift the hips up high, resting on the backs of your shoulders with the knees in towards your head. Place the heels of the palms at the small of your back with the fingertips pointing up towards the ceiling. Lift the legs up high into the air into Shoulder Stand. Move the chin away from your chest, pull in through the belly and tuck the pelvis under. You want the ankles to be stacked above the knees, knees above the hips and hips above shoulders in one straight line. Close the eyes and breathe. Exhale to release the knees back to the chest and slowly roll down the spine. Keep the knees in and slowly rock side to side.

BENEFIT: Improves digestion, strengthens your upper body.


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Happy Baby

Lift the legs up in the air, taking a hold of the outsides of your feet into Happy Baby. Pull the knees in towards your armpits and stack the ankles above the knees. Keep the core activated, and the hips on the floor. Relax through the neck and breathe. Exhale, release, lying prone on the floor.

BENEFIT: Calms the brain and helps to relieve stress and fatigue.


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Supta Baddha Konasana

Take the soles of your feet together and your knees wide into Supta Baddha Konasana. Place one hand on your tummy and one hand on your heart. Listen as you inhale and exhale. Keep the core lightly activated and relax into it as you feel your knees start to move closer towards the floor. Hold and breathe, slowing down the heart and the breath.

BENEFIT: Stretches your inner thigh and groin muscles. Calms the mind and central nervous system.

NEXT: T-zone full body workout

Words and series by Sammy Veall

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Source: Fitness