When caring for someone with special needs, it’s difficult to prioritize your own needs. Perhaps it seems impossible to even squeeze 20 minutes of personal time in. Remember, though: you’re at your best when you take time for yourself, which benefits your whole family.
Yoga is a great way to relax your mind and bring awareness into your day. It increases your flexibility, muscle strength, and tone. Yoga also boosts your immune system! When you contract and stretch your muscles you increase the drainage of lymph (a fluid rich in immune cells), which helps the lymphatic system fight infections.
Since it’s not always easy to just swing by a studio for a class, here are three great poses to try to try at home. The best part is, they only take 5-10 minutes.
- Seated Twist
The seated twist gives you a great stretch through your neck, shoulders, back and hips. If you have an office job where you sit for the majority of your day, this pose is essential!
How to: Sit on the floor and extend your legs. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh. Bend your left knee keeping your right knee pointed toward ceiling. Keep your right hand on the floor behind you to stay stable and place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Twist to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen. Be sure to keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Do this on both sides.
- Cat-Cow Pose
Cat-cow pose stretches your back, loosens your spine and opens your chest. This post is great after a long car ride or flight.
How to: Get on your mat on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Distribute your weight equally between your hands and spread your fingers wide. Inhale and round your back, arching it up as you lower your chin to your chest; feel the stretch from your neck to your tailbone, like a cat. As you exhale, lower your back down all the way to a scoop shape as you lift your head, and tilt it back. Repeat this with your inhales and exhales as many times as you like, as long as it feels good.
- Child’s Pose
Child’s pose can be considered a resting pose, but this position offers stretch through your back, hips, thighs and ankles. It also relieves back and neck pain.
How to: Sit upright comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward and bring your forehead to rest on the ground in front of you. Extending your arms forward, lower your chest to your knees as close as you comfortably can. Hold the pose and breathe into your torso. Exhale and release to get deeper into your fold.
If you are interested in practicing yoga more regularly, check out our two articles on getting started: