If you dedicate yourself to a fit lifestyle, chances are, your muscles could use some serious stretching—and de-stressing. These five poses activate your parasympathetic nervous system, meaning you’ll feel chilled out, especially after a stressful day and intense training session. What’s more, by regularly practicing these yoga asanas (poses), you will notice improved strength in your tendons, ligaments and joints, as well as improved flexibility and a better quality of muscle tissue. After all, flexible muscles are strong muscles.

Before practicing these poses, take a few moments to ground your energy by sitting down in a comfortable position, and setting an intention for the practice.  Repeat this intention each time you train throughout the week. Set a new intention the following week.WarriorIIIsmall

1. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

Straighten both legs and firmly plant your left foot into the mat.  Raise your right leg behind you so that it is parallel to your hip, keeping both hips aligned.  Straighten your arms and hold them out in front of you in prayer or folded at your heart.

Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.



2. Crescent Warrior Pose (Anjanyeasana)

Come into a lunge pose bringing your left knee down to the mat and your right leg at 90 degrees.  Extend at the waist, place your hands in prayer and inhale as you bring your arms and hands over your head, stretching your hip flexor and abdomen.

Advanced: Straighten your left leg to lift your knee off the mat.

Hold for 10-20 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Stand with your legs about three-feet apart, with right toes pointing forward, left toes in at 45 degrees, both legs straight. Straighten and raise your arms up to shoulder height, take a deep breath and reach your right fingertips forward in space.  Bend at the waist, placing your right hand by your right foot, or holding your big toe, ankle or shin. Raise your left hand to the sky and gaze up at your fingertips.

Hold for 10-20 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

4. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Bring your right shin parallel to the front of your mat with your ankle flexed and your right sit-bone to the mat.  Stretch your left leg and toes toward the back of the mat and square your pelvis.  Breathe here until your hips begin to open.

Advanced: If you feel comfortable, lean forward resting your chest on your shin or as far down as possible.

Hold for 25-50 breaths.  Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Cow Face (Gomukhasana)

Shift onto your right sit bone, bringing your right leg over your left leg to stack your knees. Flex both ankles and lengthen your spine while breathing into your outer hips. Place your hands comfortably at your sides.

Hold for 15-20 breaths.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Routine by Zain Saraswati Jamal, health and yoga expert, founder of zainsaraswatijamal.com
Photography by Paul Buceta | Model Rita Catolino

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