After most full days at the computer, my shoulders are tight, my tush is numb, and my brain is pooped. And after a particularly hairy day, my thoughts are swirling faster than a blender on high. Either way, it's not exactly how I want to spend those precious hours each day when I'm not earning a living.
Whether you're amped up or completely drained after a work day, a simple standing forward bend can help you make the switch back into normal life mode. This pose, known as uttanasana in Sanskrit, uses your body in a completely opposite way from sitting at a desk your legs have to work while your spine and brain release. Having your head lower than your heart helps quiet your thoughts and is gently revitalizing for the body.
This pose is also a great antidote to all the sitting you do on a long flight, or even a marathon-length movie.
Standing Forward Bend
Stand with your feet a fist's distance apart, outer edges of your feet parallel to each other.
Lift your kneecaps up to engage your thigh muscles and grow your spine long by lifting the top of your head toward the ceiling.
Bring your hands to your hips and fold at your hip joints to bring your spine forward and down as far as you can comfortably go.
Let your arms and head dangle down toward the floor. If your hands don't reach the floor, gently hold on to the outer edges of your calves.
As you breathe deeply here, allow your spine to slowly grow longer and move further toward the floor.
Keep your lower body strong and engaged, while the upper body is completely soft and released.
Stay for 5 10 deep breaths.
To come out, bring your hands to your hips and bring your spine parallel to the floor for a moment. Keep your spine long as you lift your torso back up to vertical.
When you're done, your back, shoulders and neck should feel a little looser, your mind a lot clearer, and your energy level humming enough to enjoy your evening (without feeling like you have to go home and immediately crash on the couch).