Happy 4th of July! Aren’t holidays the best? Designated time to rest, play, travel, gather, feast, lounge or do whatever your patriotic heart desires. It really is the best. Yet sometimes holidays and especially holiday travel leave little room for self-care. Chosen routines like yoga, exercise or simple alone time are nourishing ways to remain healthy and happy.
Here is quick mat-free yoga practice to keep you strong, limber and grounded any day of the year, any place on the planet. With all yoga poses remember to be focused on how it feels, not how it looks. Take care of yourself and enjoy!
Clear a space near a wall, and allow about 5 minutes to complete the sequence.
1. Wall Dog
Spread the fingers wide and press hands to the wall, arms shoulder width. Walk back until your body makes and 90 degree angle. Legs are hip-width or wider. Firm your belly, press your hands into the wall while reaching your hips back to lengthen the spine. This version of downdog strengthens and stretches the upper body, back and legs while lightly toning the core. It requires less work than the original, and a great alternative for those with shoulder, elbow or wrist sensitivity. Try holding the pose for 5-10 breaths.
2. Warrior 3 Variation
Hold the strength and shape of Wall Dog. While keeping the hips level begin to lift a leg. This one can be a doozy, so keep the belly and spinal muscles firm and arms strong at the wall. Press the grounded foot firmly into the floor and fire up all the muscles on the lifted leg. If you are feeling wild bring your hands away from the wall, arms by your sides. Hold as long as feels comfortable, perhaps 3-5 breaths. When you’re done return to the first pose, rest, and switch legs.
3. Supported Forward Fold
Slowly walk forward and come to standing upright. Turn your back to the wall. Bring your feet hip-width or wider and plant your feet six inches to a foot from the wall. Bend your knees, slide your bum up the wall as high it goes by tilting the front rim of your pelvis downward. Rest your bum and body weight on the wall. Keep the knees bent, or straighten the legs. Relax your arms and let your hang like a mango ripe on the tree. Hang here for 5-10 breaths, or as long as you like.
When you’re ready to come up bend your knees and slowly roll up to standing. Pause to let yourself adjust. You can add in your favorite yoga or relaxation poses to extend the practice. Or head back to holiday merriment with a stretched-out serene glow. If traveling, ignore the gawkers at the gate, and board the plane with a little yoga under your belt. The photos above are from when I snuck this quick practice in between massage clients at the Twitter HQ here in San Francisco. As my fella and I scoot up to Seattle for an extra long holiday weekend, I am positive I’ll sneak this routine in again.
Karly Railsback is a certified massage therapist and yoga teacher who lives, works and plays in San Francisco. She offers massage therapy and teaches yoga and meditation in public, private and corporate settings. Book sessions or learn more here.
*Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for everybody. You may want to consult your healthcare provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. If you feel pain or discomfort please rest. If you are injured please seek medical attention.