Cooling down after a yoga session, or dancing, or exercise routine is very important. A gradual slowing of your pace allows your heart rate to return to normal, prevents muscle soreness, and improves relaxation. Abruptly stopping your exercising will not achieve the same effect.
The way you should cool down depends on the type of exercise you are doing. The following yoga poses can be used to cool down after an intense yoga session, after dance classes, or just to relax your body after a long day.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
The pigeon pose calms your mind, opens your hips, as well as stretches the groin, psoas, and thighs.
- From all fours, bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist
- Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee, and point your toes
- Gently lower yourself down
- On inhale, lift your upper body, come on your fingertips, draw your navel in, and open your chest
- On exhale, walk your fingertips forward and lower yourself down
- Stay like this for 5 breaths and then change the leg.
The supported bridge ‘opens’ the spine and chest and makes your torso more flexible.
- Lie down on your back
- Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the floor close to your butt
- On inhale, lift your hips off the floor, and slide the block under your sacrum
- Stay here for 10-20 breaths
- To come out, press your feet down strongly and lift your hips before removing the block
- Release your spine on the floor
- Spread (widen) your feet as far as your mat goes while keeping your knees together
- Hold for 5 breaths
Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
The reclined goddess pose opens the chest, shoulders, groin, and hips. It relieves stress, anxiety, and depression. It also helps with symptoms of menopause and PMS.
- Begin seated with your knees bent and your feet on the ground
- Gently lie back
- Take your feet together and push knees apart
- Stay for 10-20 breaths
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
The supine spinal twist stretches the back muscles and the spine and it releases stress.
- Starting from the previous pose, straighten both legs
- Bend your right knee and draw it to your chest
- Scoot your left hip to the right and guide your right knee across your body toward the floor
- Extend your arms, perpendicular to your body
- Turn your head to the right, close your eyes and hold for 10-20 breaths
- Switch legs and repeat
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
The happy baby pose gently stretches the spine and groin muscles. It calms the brain and releases stress.
- Lie on your back
- On exhale bend your knees into the chest
- On inhale grip the outsides of your feet with your hands
- Open your knees slightly and bring them towards your armpits
- Hold for 10-20 breaths
Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
The legs up the wall pose can help alleviate headache, menstrual cramps, insomnia, and anxiety.
- Lie on the ground on your back and put your legs up the wall
- Spread out your arms and relax
- Focus on your breathing as you hold the pose, for at least 30 seconds.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The corpse pose rejuvenates the body and mind. It also helps release stress.
- Lie on your back
- Separate your legs slightly and let your feet fall on either site
- Turn your palms to face upward
- Stay like this for 10 minutes
The Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
After the corpse pose, it’s ideal to meditate for a few minutes, and the so-called easy pose is ideal for it.
- Cross your shins and slip each foot under the opposite knee
- Let your hands rest on your knees (or lap)
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath
- If your mind wanders, bring it back by focusing your breath
- Stay for 10 minutes
Disclaimer: before you start any exercise program, make sure to talk to your medical provider. Stop any exercise if you feel pain.
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