Everyone knows it’s better to bend than to break. These eight yoga poses will enable athletes to recover and function at peak level.
Down Dog Foot Pedal
- Start on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sits bones toward the ceiling.
- Reach heels back toward the mat. Drop head so neck is long.
- Make sure wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat.
- Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists.
- Pedal feet out one at a time, alternately bending knees in down dog. Breathe here for at least 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Half Chair Half Ankle to Knee
- Stand with big toes together, outer edges of feet parallel.
- Bend knees, sink hips back as if sitting down in a chair, and reach arms high to frame face.
- Transfer weight into right leg, then hug left knee into chest.
- Cross left ankle over right knee. Flex left foot to protect knee.
- Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
- Lie on back. Bend knees and hug them in toward chest.
- Widen knees toward armpits and take the outer edges of feet in hands.
- Keep whole back on the ground and rock softly from left to right if that feels good.
- Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.
- Start in a wide low lunge with right foot forward and both hands to the left of right foot.
- Lower forearms to the ground so that elbows line up with the arch of the front foot and forearms are parallel to one another.
- Lower left knee to ground, reach chest forward, and allow head to relax in line with spine.
- Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, then repeat on left side.
Low Lunge with Quad Opener
- Start in a long low lunge with right foot forward, and tap back knee down.
- Crawl hands up onto right thigh and breathe here.
- Bend left knee, reach left heel toward left thigh.
- Grab hold of left foot with right hand and place it in the crook of left elbow.
- Rest right hand or forearm on right thigh for stability and balance.
- Breathe here 5 to 10 deep breaths before repeating on other side.
Supported Fish Variation
- While sitting on the ground with legs in front of you, place a yoga block on the medium-height behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lie.
- Bend knees and place feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Using arms, slowly lower upper back to gently rest on the block, adjusting placement until you are comfortable.
- Ideally, the block is where your bra line would be. Next, clasp hands behind head and allow elbows and head to release toward the ground.
- Keep knees bent, or lengthen legs long (pictured). Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.
Read the full list at FitnessMagazine.com.