An expert shares her mental health tips.
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When we sit at a desk, in a car, on a plane, or even at home in the same position for most of the day, we begin to tighten up in specific areas of the body—including the upper and lower back, hips, hamstrings, and neck. This leaves us feeling stiff and immobile, which can make us lethargic and unenergetic. Prevent this cycle by adding some of these yoga stretches into your afternoon routine.
This stretch is perfect for refreshing your mindset because it turns you upside down, but it’s also a delicious low back and hip stretch. On top of that, it’ll reverse that desk hunch as it opens the chest.
Peddler's Posture can be done seated in your office chair, or standing with your knees bent. Try clasping your hands behind your low back and fold forward from your hips. Keep your knees bent to protect your hamstrings and back. If you are standing, you can straighten one leg at a time to add in a little hamstring stretch. Let your arms reach up towards the sky and drop your head completely.
This is a combination of two yoga postures blended into one rescue remedy for tight hips and low backs.
From reclined on your back, cross one ankle over the opposite knee and flex that foot (press your toes back towards your ankle). Plant your weight into the foot that is still on the floor and lift your hips up to the sky. You can keep your arms wide for stability, or begin walking the hands towards each other to take the backbend deeper, stretch the neck, and obtain a chest opening experience.
Twisting invigorates the blood and lymph which can get a little stagnant when we are stationary for long periods of time. It also massages the spine and encourages digestive health.
From your chair, driver's seat or sitting on the floor, move one hand to the outside of the opposite leg. Keep your hips square—if you’re sitting this means both butt cheeks are on the seat and if you’re standing both hip points will be facing forward evenly. Gently twist from your rib cage.
These side stretches are done sitting down or standing up. They will open your diaphragm and stretch your ribs, spine, arms, shoulder—and if you’re standing, your hip, too!
You can get the most out of this cliche move by making sure both your hips are firmly planted in your seat or stay level and square if you’re standing (use a mirror if you’re unsure). Then raise your arms up and catch one wrist. Now, pull your arm over to one side and take a long inhale, pressing our ribs out to the side. To go deeper, push heavily into the heel on the same side as the arm you are pulling on.
Try these mini maneuvers throughout your day to reverse that stagnant feeling and to help you feel more limber!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.