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Five De-Stressing Post-Holiday Yoga Poses

The holiday season has come to a close, and you may have been presented with some stress alongside the joy. Travel, family, preparations, food and celebration are some mixed blessings of the holidays. Focus on the back and shoulders, where we rowers tend to hold tension on and off the water. Incorporate these five yoga poses following the holidays to get you back on track and complement your rowing.

1. Seated pose – Tadasana

Find a seated position that supports a straight spine. If you have the space, start seated on the ground with your hips on your heels and knees slightly wider than your hips. If this uncomfortable for your knees or hips, sit on a pillow or yoga block with your feet to either side.

Focus on how you’re experiencing this moment. Become aware of the details; your posture, your breathing, anything that’s bugging you physically or mentally. Let the stress about whatever is on your mind melt like frost on your windshield. You can return to those later.

Interlock your fingers behind your back, pressing your palms into each other and reach your knuckles to the floor. Slide your shoulder blades down your back while reaching your heart upwards.This pose will reverse any slump in your posture from hours on the erg or at the dinner table.

2. Child’s pose – Balasana

Bring your hands in front of you and walk them forward until your torso lay on your thighs and hips come off your heels slightly. Then bring your hips back to your heels to the lengthen out the low back. Hang here for 3-6 breaths. This releases the muscles that run along the spine, often tired out from stabilizing the boat during windy training sessions this time of year if you’re lucky enough to row this month!

3. Sphinx – Salamba Bhujangasana

Lie with your stomach on the floor propping your upper body on your arms, forearms flat on the floor and parallel to each other with shoulders directly above the elbows. Bring the chest up by imagining dragging your forearms towards your knees and sliding shoulder blades down and back. This returns the lumbar section for the spine to its natural curve, which is often compromised in our sport to get the most bend on the oar.

4. Staff pose – Dandasana

Sit on the ground with legs outstretched. If your hamstrings are tight while on the floor, sit on a blanket or yoga block so your torso can be comfortably upright. You can also sit against a wall to straighten the complete length of your spine. Engage your quads, activating the muscles around your knee caps. Place your hands alongside your hips, pressing through the whole of your palms. Broaden your chest from shoulder to shoulder and activate your core. Attempt to straighten your spine from tailbone to top of the head, even lifting your torso a hair off the floor by pressing your hands into the floor. Try starting with your fingers pointing behind you to open the chest further and to stretch tight forearms. Relax your grip!

5. Supine twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

While lying on the floor, bring one bent knee across the center line of the body. Use the closest hand to the bent knee to apply light pressure on the crossed thigh. Keep both shoulders squarely rooted to the floor. Extend the opposite hand and gaze that direction. Repeat on the other side. Be patient with yourself that one side may be easier than the other especially if you sweep more than scull.

As rowers, we tend to enjoy rigor and challenges. Don’t overstretch or overdo any part of your training. This short routine is meant to be restorative and to recharge you. Your body is like an instrument, when strung too tight is breaks and won’t play if too loose. Find a happy medium and fine tune it over the year.

By Grace Latz| Jan 02, 2015

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