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Take a breath … literally

It’s hard to believe August is one short week away. Where did the summer go?

I’m sure you’ve been busy shuttling the kids to and from summer activities, camps and playdates, but don’t forget: sometimes, you just need to breath. Literally. Controlled breathing calms your mind, lowers blood pressure and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation, according to Greatist.

If you’re looking for the ultimate way to de-stress and take a breather, yoga is the way to go. By doing a few of these moves, even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day, you’ll feel much more calm, relaxed and rejuvenated. I promise.

Tree-Pose1. Tree Pose

According to Shape, Tree Pose strengthens the muscles in your thighs, ankles and around your spine, in addition to increasing flexibility in your hips and shoulders.

–        To start, 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. It’s OK if you feel wobbly; keep your hand on your ankle while it’s pressed into your thigh.

–        If you’re finding balancing 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 five slow, deep breaths. Repeat on the other leg.

  1. Warrior II

warrior-IIShape also suggests Warrior II, designed to increase flexibility in your hips and shoulders.

–        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 here, 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. Keep your right arm in front of you, and your left arm behind you, with your palms down. Look over your front hand.

–        Stay here for five long, deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

  1. Mountain Pose

mountainPrevention writes that this pose will keep you focused and leave you feeling grounded.

–        Stand straight with your feet together, spreading your toes out like a fan.

–        Distribute your weight evenly across both feet. Lift your kneecaps by tightening your thighs.

–        Move your thighs back and tailbone in. Make sure you straighten the arms with your palms facing in.

–        Pull your shoulder blades back and lift the chest, while keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed.

–        Now, look straight ahead, holding for one to two minutes.

  1. Cross-Legged Lower Back Stretch

crosslegsReady to reduce your stress levels and rejuvenate our mind and body? This move is perfect for both.

–         Sit a few inches from the wall with your legs crossed.

–        Walk your fingers up the wall, stretching from your lower back.

–        Broaden your shoulders by separating and lifting your shoulder blades. Keep your throat and neck soft. Make sure you don’t tense your shoulders, just lift them.

–        When you think you have gone as high as you can, rest for a moment. After your body has adjusted to the pose, walk your fingers a little higher.

–        Rest and repeat several times.

Even though it’s easy to get caught up juggling schedules, activities and projects, make sure you take a little time for yourself. Whether it’s in the morning, evening, or while the kids are out of the house, find a way to fit it in. When you’re your happiest and healthiest, everyone else is too.

Until next time,

Kirsten

About Kirsten Yovino

Kirsten Yovino is a Milwaukee-area resident and co-owner of brewcityparent.com.

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