Does the end of summer have you dragging a little bit? Or do you maybe have trouble with a late afternoon slump? Try these restorative yoga poses to give you an energy boost.
When you think about doing yoga, you might imagine deep stretches and relaxing breathing exercises, and yoga can certainly fit the bill there. But yoga can also be strenuous or energizing. It’s all about picking and choosing the poses that your body needs.
As a mom to a toddler and someone who worked in the corporate world for a long time, I know that you can’t always drop everything and do a few rounds of sun salutations. I’ve broken up the restorative yoga poses below into a few groups. If you have the time and privacy, I encourage you to try a round or two of sun salutations. But below, there are also yoga poses that you can do with your child and ones that you can do at your desk. Wake-up yoga for everyone!
The sun salutation is sort of yoga 101, and that’s no surprise. This series of basic poses gets the blood flowing and wakes up the body. The video above is aimed at beginners, breaking the sequence down for you. Once you get the swing of the sun salutation’s flow, you can do it on your own for a lovely wake-up!
Yoga with Kids
When you’re caring for kids, sometimes it can be tricky to sneak in yoga poses. The poses that will appeal to your kids may depend a bit on their ages. These are the poses that my toddler enjoys most. Some he will try to mimic, but his favorite yoga-with-mom pose is the one where he gets to fly. Obviously, if your kids are too heavy, you’ll want to encourage them to do this final pose by your side, not on your legs or feet.
This is one of my favorite poses, and I’m so glad that my son likes to practice it with me! Maybe I call it “Upside-Downsies” when we do it together. Kids love being upside-down, so it shouldn’t be hard to get your child to play this game with you. He likes this pose best when we are back-to-back, so he can see my face upside down.
Don’t worry about their form, unless they’re doing something that can really hurt them.
Cobra Pose or Upward Dog
Both cobra and upward dog are natural companion poses to downward dog, and they’re great wake-you-up postures. They opens the chest and help counter all of that bending forward that we do when we’re playing with kids, sitting at a computer, or reading on our smart phones. Chest-openers like this are great, because they encourage us to take big, deep, energizing breaths.
My son thinks that cobra and up dog are hilarious! Sometimes he lies on the floor and pretends to be asleep. Sometimes he tries to copy my movements. Sometimes he tries to sit on my back and read a book. I love seeing how he decides to interact with me during this pose – it brings out his creativity!
It’s a lot of fun to incorporate smaller kids into a spinal rock. You want to wait until your baby is sitting up on his own before you do this pose with him, since it can be jarring. My 18-month-old loves this. He squeals when we rock. You can see how to do a spinal rock in the video above.
Obviously, you’re not going to roll all the way back with your baby on your shins or feet. Below are some tips on how to incorporate your baby or toddler into this pose.
To incorporate my son into a modified spinal rock, I sit on the floor with my feet by my bottom, knees bent, then call him over to stand in front of my shins. We count, “one, two, threeeee!” On three, you’ll place your hands on your baby’s sides, just under the armpits, and rock back gently. He should be resting his belly on your shins.
Don’t rock so far back that he’s upside-down unless you’re sure that you have a good grip on him. It’s easy to lose hold of a wiggly toddler, so I like having gravity on my side. With your hands under his arms, he should be very secure. If you’re feeling like you guys have got this thing down, though, you can lift your legs slightly, so that he can fly higher. You can also try rocking back with your kid on your feet, if you prefer.
Desk Yoga Poses to Wake You Up
5-Minute Seated Yoga Series
Rodney Yee – one of my favorite yoga instructors – demonstrates this simple chair yoga series. You can do the whole set of three postures or just choose one or two of the poses that he walks you through here. If you’re worried that your office-mates might give you funny looks, I think the best policy is to just be honest! Tell them that you’re sneaking in some desk yoga. They might even want to join you! You can also skip some of the more .. .bendy … poses, if you’re not comfortable doing them in front of co-workers. Maybe try those out when everyone is gone for lunch?
Two Minute Chair Twist
Don’t have five minutes? This is a modified version of a yoga twist that you can do right at your desk in only a minute and a half. It’s surprisingly restorative. Spinal twisting helps release tension and open the chest, both of which give you a nice little energy boost. My favorite part of this video is the “butt pull.” What a great way to describe settling into your sit bones!