Random participant chosen to win a $15 Amazon gift card is — Ruth @ Bookish Ruth! Congratulations and thanks for participating!
Congratulations on making it to Hour 9 of Readathon! I’m here this hour (and for the next 3) with a challenge that will get you out of your seat, increase blood flow to your brain, and stretch out those muscles that may be just a little bit tired of sitting.
You do not have to be an experienced practitioner to do these poses, but you should listen to your body as you’re doing the stretches. If it feels like too much, stop. If you have any injuries, specifically knee, back, or wrist injuries, or if you have glaucoma, I recommend sitting this one out.
I’ve placed the poses in a particular order to create a sort of flow, but you can pick and choose the ones you would like to do. All of them are excellent at increasing the blood flow to your brain and gently stretching your muscles. Be sure to take even, deep breaths for the best benefit.
- Mountain Pose
Begin by standing straight, feet slightly apart, with your arms down at your sides. Take a few deep breaths here. Getting yourself out of a seated position and breathing a little more deeply will help you wake up if you’re hitting an afternoon (or middle of the night!) slump.
- Standing Forward Bend
This pose is fairly straight forward — you are slowly bending down to touch your toes. Keep the belly pulled in, reaching as far down to the floor as you can. If this is a challenge, don’t push yourself too far. Reach only as far as is comfortable for you. Breathe here for a few counts before lowering yourself onto all fours.
- Cat Pose
Palms on the ground, knees bent, back straight — you’ll begin to pull your belly in and up toward the ceiling like a cat arching its back. Move on to Cow Pose and repeat.
- Cow Pose
On the inhale you will do the inverse of Cat Pose, lifting your head to look straight ahead, lifting your sitting bones toward the ceiling, and letting your belly sink down. Exhale – Cat Pose, inhale – Cow Pose. Do a few of these together to massage your spine and provide a gentle stretch for your neck.
- Downward Facing Dog
One of my favorites. Remaining on all fours you will push back with your feet on the ground, lifting your tailbone and keeping your spine straight in alignment, pointing toward your palms. Palms are extended on the floor and most of your weight should be pressed into your feet, working slowly at stretching your calves to press your heels into the floor. Be easy here and do not force your heels to the floor. You may stay in this pose for a few minutes, if you wish, before coming down to rest in Child’s Pose.
- Child’s Pose
A restful, restorative pose. You may remain here as long as you feel comfortable (just don’t fall asleep!)
- Seated Forward Bend
Push yourself back into a seated position, stretching your legs out in front of you. Straighten your spine, rocking on your sitting bones to lengthen and adjust yourself into a comfortable position. Slowly reach forward, pulling your core in, and slide your hand forward, reaching to touch your toes. Once again, only go as far as you feel comfortable.
- Bridge Pose
This is another great pose for increasing blood flow to your brain, but it is optional. There are a few ways to modify it if necessary and I recommend clicking the link to check those out if you feel like you might need them.
- Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
For this one you will need a wall and blankets or towels. Roll your towel and use it for support at the base of your spine. The distance from the wall will vary on what you are comfortable with and your height.
- Corpse Pose
Finally, we come to Corpse Pose. Lie back and relax all your muscles, arms down at your sides, legs and feet relaxed. Close your eyes and remain here for as long as you like.
I hope this helps you to feel recharged and a little rested before you return to your reading!
To participate in the challenge:
- Do a few (or all) of the poses.
- Note (1) the poses you did, (2) your experience with them, and (3) how long your yoga break was on your blog, Instagram (#readathonyoga), Facebook, etc.
- Comment here with the link to where you shared your experience OR just comment with your experience here.
The challenge will run for 3 hours (3pm-6pm Central Time) and I will then pick a participant at random to receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card!
Photos courtesy of lululemon athletica, my yoga online, and uwenna.