How to stay fit and stay fresh for the Summer

Some references from Health.com

authors note:

Hi Breathe Blog subscribers! Thank you for your patience on awaiting a new blog while I navigate my way through motherhood. I have a now two-month old son who has been taking up all of my attention. I am so grateful and happy to be experiencing this new season of life. It is the most rewarding and exhausting thing I have ever experienced. But now that we’ve gotten a little bit more of a routine down, I thought I would post a new blog and get back into it.

let’s celebrate the end of the pandemic, while staying fit & fresh

It’s easy to let go of your fitness regime during those Summer months while you’re enjoying the sun in your backyard & sipping your favourite Summer drink.

Especially with the pandemic coming to an end, it’s easy to give into the temptation of fine dining, indulging in food festivals, having more than your fair share of celebratory drinks.

So while you are basking in your rejuvenated social life, here are some tools to help you stay fit and fresh for the Summer.

workout outside!

Whether its a hike at your local trail or mountain, a workout at your favourite local beach, or a simple full body blast in your backyard or the park across the street. When you are out and about running errands, park your car at the back of the parking lot and get those steps in. Instead of 10,000 steps on your fitness app, set it to 15,000. Give yourself motivation…get outside to workout!

hydrate

Following the age-old advice to drink plenty of water does help you feel lighter, especially in warm weather. In the hot summer, your body tends to get dehydrated, so it holds on to fluids, which can make you feel bloated. Though it sounds counterintuitive, this means you need to sip throughout the day to maintain the right balance

Keep it small

Ordering your favourite drink from Starbucks? Or maybe even heading to the drive-through of your local fast food joint. Keep it small and avoid ordering the larger portion sizes. This way you get to eat your favourite foods without the guilt, regret, and over-full tummy. Everything in moderation is the healthy way to go. You don’t want to deprive yourself of the things that bring you joy in life.

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness? A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Take some time out of your day to practice mindfulness. Check out this post about Breathing Exercises to help practice mindfulness

Did you realize you can also channel mindfulness during your workouts? Consciously tune in to your body position while you exercise, especially during strength training. Ask yourself, ‘Where am I feeling this? Am I really present doing this exercise right now?

Get your zzz’s

Getting a good amount of sleep helps with weight control. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can create an imbalance of hunger hormones and increase appetite. When we are shortchanging ourselves in terms of our sleep—school, travel, working multiple jobs, staying up watching Netflix— our brain enters into a sleep deficit. The brain has limited options for promoting wakefulness when it is truly sleep-deprived, and eating is one. To make sure you’re getting enough rest even when your summer schedule becomes erratic, set an alarm for as close to the same time as possible every day, detach from screens at least an hour before bedtime, and expose yourself to natural light right when you rise.

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Interested in more blog posts about mindfulness & reducing stress? Check out “10 affirmations to keep your momentum going” and “10 breathing exercises to help reduce stress”

The Benefits of Cardio Exercise

References from topfitness.com & darebee.com

If you are new to working out or returning to the gym, deciding what kind of exercises you should do can be overwhelming. While it doesn’t hurt to try a little bit of everything, there are some exercises that will be more beneficial toward your goals. For instance, cardio is one of the best and most popular types of exercises people perform. However, a lot of people also despise cardio in any form. Even though you may not find the physical activity of cardio enjoyable, it has a lot of major health benefits—discover a few reasons to start doing cardio.

GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS

One of the main reasons why people adopt a cardio exercising routine is because it can help you lose weight. Cardio is a great exercise for those looking to slim down because it helps you burn fat and lose calories. While diet is more instrumental in weight loss, you will want to work cardio into your routine to further advance your goal to shed a few pounds. This is because cardio can burn hundreds of calories in a session.

STRENGTHENS YOUR HEART

Cardiovascular relates to the heart and blood cells, so when you perform a cardio exercise such as running or biking, you strengthen your heart. This is due to the fact that cardio exercise makes your heart rate accelerate and properly pump blood. As a result, this strengthens your heart, which is arguably one of the most important organs of your body.

 

REDUCES THE RISK OF SEVERAL DISEASES

Cardio exercise also helps reduce the risk of several deadly diseases. Roughly 1.5 million people suffer from heart attacks and strokes annually in the United States. Cardio exercise is one way you can reduce the risk of heart attacks and disease along with their underlying causes such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Many people also suffer from diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and fitting in time for physical activity like cardio can also help you prevent these diseases.

IMPROVES LUNG CAPACITY

Many people tend to shy away from cardio because it can be tough to breathe as you perform the exercise. However, that heavy breathing you are experiencing is actually improving your lungs. Cardio will increase your lung capacity as you push your breathing ability to the limit during a tedious workout.

NATURALLY BOOSTS ENERGY

It is quite common for people to consume energy drinks and coffee throughout the day to stay alert. Other people can’t get through a day without taking a long nap. But these methods can be harmful to your health if you overdo them. A healthier option is cardio exercise. It can naturally boost your energy, which is why many people start their day off with some cardio in the early hours of the morning. When our body goes through an activity that requires energy, such as running, it releases endorphins. These increased endorphin levels, in turn, boost our energy.

GREAT FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Since cardio exercise releases endorphins, another benefit is that it simply makes you feel good afterward. Cardio is a healthy way to combat mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or stress. Many people have coined the feeling one experiences after physical conditioning as a “runners high.” Aside from the endorphins, as you are doing cardio, you are challenging yourself mentally. There are bound to be many times throughout your workout when you feel like you may quit. Pushing through a tough workout and eventually finishing gives you a great sense of accomplishment and leads to a natural “high” you may feel afterward. When you get into the routine of doing cardio exercise, you will start to feel better about yourself overall and improve your confidence.

BETTER SLEEP

Many professionals recommend you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night; however, a lot of people do not accomplish this. This results in low energy that can make the day a huge pain to get through. For many, good sleep is difficult to come by simply because it’s hard to fall asleep. When you add cardio to your lifestyle, you will begin to experience a higher quality of sleep. With cardio as part of your day, you’re sure to feel tired come the evening, which is right before going to bed. In turn, this will make it far easier to get in bed and fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

HELPS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Nobody wants to get sick. You may not be able to afford to miss work or have an important event coming up. The worst thing about getting sick is that it often happens out of nowhere, perhaps at the most inconvenient time. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Cardio exercise can help your immune system fight any bacterial infections you may be vulnerable to because it changes your antibodies and white blood cells. With regular cardio exercise, the antibodies or white blood cells in your body will move around faster and gain a better ability to find potential illnesses.

Bottom Line

Adding 20 minutes of cardio to your daily routine three to five days a week comes with all these incredible health benefits. Plus, it doesn’t need to be boring. You can add in plenty of variation, so your cardio workouts won’t feel so overwhelming. Further, you can easily choose the intensity at which you perform cardio exercises.

The main point is that we are not meant to sit around all day—we need to keep our bodies active and moving. Cardio is one of the best ways to remain fit and treat your body as a temple. Additionally, it’s one of the easier exercises to compete because you can do it outside, at the gym, or at home.

Here are some great at-home cardio workouts:

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How to create a morning routine!

Resources from Lifehack & The Hollis Co.

Even if you are not a morning person…there is a perfect morning routine that will make YOU happy and productive all day – you just have to find yours.

A morning routine is said to boost happiness, increase productivity, reduce stress levels and get you grounded and settled for the day. It’s about getting started on the ‘right foot’.

A morning routine also allows you to start your morning with intention, rather than letting the day run away from you. You control the day; the day doesn’t control you. This positive feeling of being on top of things has results in a positive feeling and effect on your entire day.

I can’t possibly make time to create and execute a morning routine.” That’s not true! We all have the same 24 hours in a day and how we use it is up to us. Feeling doubtful? Check out Rachel Hollis’s morning routine example. She is a mother with many responsibilities and paints a motivational picture of what it’s like to live a chaotic, crazy life with a blissful morning routine.

“Focused, productive successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days – which inevitably create a successful life.”

How to Create Your Ultimate Morning Routine

Let’s look at the morning routine through the lens of Integrative Wellness principles, which take into account the four aspects or ‘systems’ of you: Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual.

Mentally

Put simply, this has to do with your mind, including thoughts, beliefs, values, goals, hopes, dreams, desires and plans.

Some options to create a positive mental space in the morning include:

Set goals.

A great way to set some goals is to focus on the three most important goals you have for the day. This gives you something to focus on – and makes sure you have a sense of achievement throughout the day. And because it’s only three things, it still leaves room for other things that come up – so there’s built in flexibility too.

Make a list.

Get it off your mind. Sometimes in the night we worry, waking up thinking about what we need to accomplish. This means we wake up already feeling behind. Instead, if there’s something you know you need to do, write it down. Make a list so you can free you mind for more important thinking.

Create a plan/schedule for the day.

When you know you’ve got a hectic day ahead, a little planning can go a long way. Have a look on your calendar and see what’s there – integrate your goals and your list of to-do’s so you have a plan of action.

Emotionally

This is all about your feelings, emotions and relationships. You can think of it as all things related to the heart.

Some things you can do to help your emotional well-being and have a happy morning include:

Express gratitude.

New research continues to surface on the science and benefits of gratitude. Studies have now proven a multitude of benefits from expressing gratitude; ranging from how it improves relationships, physical and emotional health, sleep, mental stamina, energy and overall happiness. Rachel Hollis is a fantastic influencer that provides many tips and resources on gratitude journaling, and even sells a journal called the “Start Today Journal”. But to keep it simple – when you wake up every morning, write down three things you are grateful for.

hug someone! or something.

Hugging boosts your oxytocin levels (the love hormone), increases serotonin (elevates mood and creates happiness), strengthens the immune system, boosts self-esteem, lowers blood pressure, balances the nervous system and releases tension. Put simply, hugging makes you feel good. Find someone – or something – to hug. It only takes a few seconds and it can put you in a positive mood for the day.

Identify what makes you feel good.

What brings you happiness, joy or excitement for the day ahead? What makes you feel grounded or connected on a deeper level? Meditation, yoga, breathwork? Get more of that.

Physically

All those things we think about that we can do with our body or physical space. This might include what we eat or drink, how we move and anything that has to do with our physical selves.

Here are some options for increasing your physical well-being in the morning:

Get moving.

Get the blood flowing. We all know the benefits of exercise. This might be a run, hike, trip to the gym, yoga, stretching or finding your own short workout. Remember, what works for one person will not work for everyone.

Check out the post Tips for working out at home on The Breathe Blog!

Drink water.

Before you reach for that first cup of coffee, reach first for something that hydrates you.

Eat a good breakfast.

What does that mean for you? A protein smoothie? Great. Avocado Toast? Awesome. Oatmeal? Fantastic. Eat a healthy, ‘real-food’ breakfast to get you going.

Clean your physical space.

When our physical space is cluttered, our minds often feel the same way.

What works for you? Tidy up your workspace. Get the clothes in the hamper. Make your bed. Whatever makes you feel more settled in your physical space, it is worth the effort.

Read this article if you aren’t sure how to declutter.

Spiritually

This can be anything related to you and a feeling of inspiration, which means, ‘in spirit’. While it doesn’t have to convey religion, it may for you. It’s more about what you need to feel connected to something deeper, bigger, higher – and what makes you feel most connected to yourself.

Meditation.

While some of you may be reading this thinking, YES, I love my morning meditation practice, others might be feeling a sense of stress or trepidation reading yet another article about meditation.

If you’re feeling hesitant but want to try it out, there are a ton of great apps (The Mindfulness app, Headspace and Calm) and other resources out there for you. Take a look at this guided morning mediation for something short and sweet.

Positive Affirmations

Short for time? Even reciting some positive affirmations to help keep your motivation going is helpful. Check out this post on Breathe Blog on Positive Affirmations.

Be in nature.

Find a place you can sit or walk and just be. Notice the colors of the trees and the sky, the smells in the air. What do you hear if you listen closely? Take a moment to feel the earth beneath your feet or the breeze against your face.

Take a walk in nature you’ve got physical and spiritual needs covered all in one go! If you don’t have time to go for a walk outside – spend part of your morning while you write in your Gratitude Journal on your porch, deck, or in your backyard.

What to Keep in Mind

1. A healthy morning routine starts the night before.

Getting quality sleep is essential to starting your mornings off right. Make sure you get the recommended 7-9 hours (or whatever works for you). If you’re going to get up earlier for your morning routine, you need to go to bed earlier.

Here are some basic ways to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Get off your electronics at least an hour before bed
  • Make sure you have a comfortable pillow and mattress.
  • Set a consistent sleep routine, reduce outside noise and sleep in a well-darkened room or wear an eye mask.

2. Keep it simple.

Find one or two things (three max) that you feel will work for YOU to get you on a roll. Start with a quick win and work your way up from there.

It’s not recommended choosing eight things and then giving up – or beating yourself up because you couldn’t make it work. If you put too much on your plate, you won’t do anything. Eventually, you’ll want to have at least one activity from each of the four categories, but you can start small and work your way up.

3. Take a test drive.

Once you’ve settled on a few concepts that you think will work for you, try them for a few days before you decide if it does/doesn’t work. Like with any habit, you need at least 21 days to create something that sticks.

4. Set a reminder.

Put something in place that reminds you of your morning routine, like a reminder on your phone, or a note on your fridge or mirror etc. etc.

5. Integrate.

Find ways to integrate your morning routine into what you’re already doing, rather than adding more on your ‘to-do’ list. You can also double up, finding activities that covering a couple multiple ‘systems’ of your body.

Start today!

You’ve been given the tips and tricks, now it’s time to take action! Grab yourself a notebook or use your phone and start creating! Need some more guidance? Click here for tutorials on creating your morning routine through planning, writing, and motivational videos. Also, here are some quick examples:

Tips for working-out at home

Referenced from Chantel Nowak

Feeling stuck at home because of Covid-19? Or maybe you aren’t comfortable with going to a gym or a fitness class right now. Working out at home can be a great alternative to hitting the gym. It’s pretty ideal, in fact.

10 reasons working out at home is awesome

  1. Your bathroom and kitchen are nearby – no waiting and no need for shower shoes.
     
  2. You don’t have to lock up your valuables while you’re working out.
     
  3. There’s nobody around to make you feel self-conscious about how you look or how fit you are.
     
  4. You don’t have to worry about parking.
     
  5. You don’t have to take off your clothes in front of strangers.
     
  6. No need to rush to fill up your water bottle before your class starts.
     
  7. You don’t need to pack a gym bag and remember to pick it up on your way out the door for work.
     
  8. You can hide out from too-hot, too-cold or too-rainy weather.
     
  9. You get to pick the playlist.
     
  10. It’s free – or close to it.

There are a ton of simple ways to get moving at home. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find a home workout, stick to it and get the best results:

1. Choose your at-home workout space

Designate a corner in your home as your workout spot. You really only need a space the size of a yoga mat to have a bunch of options for an effective and efficient workout.

It’s best to not exercise in the same place you watch TV or eat. This will help you focus and stay committed to your workout.

2. Put on your gym clothes

Dress like you’re actually going to the gym. You’ll feel more like exercising when you’re wearing athletic clothes.

You might also find it helpful to put on your running shoes and do 15 minutes of house- or yard-work. It’s a great way to warm up and get a little extra energy before beginning your workout.

You may also want to invest in good, supportive running shoes. Taking care of your feet is extremely important. So do some research into what type of shoe you need to wear for your workout.

3. Don’t worry about gym equipment

You likely don’t need that much equipment, if any at all. But if you would really like to use weights, here are some options:

If you do have basic equipment such as hand weights and a mat, you have numerous options. If you’re going to use weights, it’s a good idea to have two different sets so you can customize your workout.

If you don’t have hand weights and you want to add extra resistance, try soup cans or water bottles. Some other equipment you might find beneficial include resistance bands or a foam roller. They can help you to stretch your muscles before a workout and pamper them afterwards.

4. Use your devices to get new workouts

Don’t think you can make up your own circuits? That’s okay. There are lots of routines out there, especially through apps, and many are free.

Try Fitplan: Gym & Home WorkoutsGetFit: Home Workout & Fitness, or the Tone It Up app. They feature programs that guide you through daily workouts that you can do any place, any time – including at home. Most are free. Others have a free trial so you can see if you like them before committing to paying for them.

If you have a smart speaker, you can also use it to guide you through a home workout. Alexa can pull up five-minute workouts for you if you want to get in a blast of exercise in a short amount of time.

You can also try creating an energizing and free playlist on Spotify. Choose songs that pump you up, and occasionally swap out your playlist to keep things interesting.

5. Set realistic fitness goals

Start slowly, trust your strength and treat your body well. You don’t have to jump into it full-speed. Instead, commit to what you think is reasonable for your body and schedule what you can manage each week. Maybe three days a week will work to start. As you become more comfortable, start doing more.

Have you been at home or working from home due to the recent COVID-19 situation? Then you might want to consider other ways to stay active when you’re at from home. Try recording your times and reps and challenge yourself to improve them.

Do your best not to make excuses. Make exercise part of your daily routine and schedule a workout time that works for you, whether you’re a morning or night-time person. Make it your own and do something you enjoy, and you should start to feel and see results.

Equipment-free workout you can do at home

Your home workout doesn’t need to be super-fancy or complicated. Here is an equipment free work-out example:

  • Warm up by walking up and down the stairs for five minutes.
  • Hold a plank for 20-60 seconds (modifications: lean on your knees, forearms or hands – whichever feels best for you).
  • Push-ups: 10-15 repetitions (modifications: from your knees)
  • Squats: 10-15 repetitions

Rest for 30-40 seconds between sets and repeat. The number of sets you do will depend on your current fitness level. Last, cool down by walking on the spot and slowly stretch out your muscles.

Exercise is a great stress-reducer. It’s so important to make time for exercise. Unplug and just do it!

Home workouts are entirely customizable, time-efficient and cheap. Commit to the time and trust the process, and you’ll be on your way to living a healthier life.

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9 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Article referenced from Brigitt Earley and Melanie Rud 

Here are 9 ways that you can help improve your mood during the winter!

1. Give your skin some TLC

There’s no denying that your skin looks better in the summer, with its sun-kissed glow and fresh dewiness (thank you, humidity). There’s also no denying that as temperatures and humidity levels plummet, all that cold, dry air takes a toll on your complexion. That’s why fall is the perfect time to up your skin game. Reevaluate the ingredients in your skincare routine and get the pros involved. Check out the Breathe Blog post on How to Protect your Skin in 2021

2. Make your environment brighter

When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.

3. Eat smarter

Having a well-balanced diet it so important for our mental health. Ensure you are trying your best to consume enough fruits and vegetables, along with protein and healthy carbohydrates. Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression.

4. Simulate dawn

People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out. Studies show that a dawn simulator ($50; walgreens.com), a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.

5. Exercise

2005 study from Harvard suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Try these mood boosting workouts and 10 stretches to keep your body healthy.

6. Turn on the tunes

In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.

7. Plan a day-trip

Longing for an adventure? With the pandemic surrounding our lives, it’s hard to take a vacation…but the simple act of planning a day-trip to your local beach, or a road trip to one of your favorite parks causes a significant increase in overall happiness! Make a picnic lunch, grab a Starbucks, or order some take-out and enjoy your day in an environment (safely) that isn’t your home!

8. Help others

Want to help others while social-distancing? Sort out your wardrobe (or even your whole house) and take your unwanted items to your local homeless shelter, thrift store, or Salvation Army!

9. Get outside

Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels

Get Help

Not sure where to go to find help or who to turn to? Consulting with your healthcare provider or another trusted professional is always a great start.

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How to improve your posture

Resources from girlslivingwell.com

You can improve your posture at any age, but the sooner the better. The longer you wait with aiding your posture, the more damage you can put on your body. The best way to improve it is to start taking measures in your daily life and be conscious of wanting to improve. The good news is that changing posture is very much possible.

Here are some tips & tricks to help improve your posture!

1. Get in the right mindset and recruit a friend
  • Being aware of wanting to make a change is a great first step in improving your posture. Make a plan of what steps you are going to take and give yourself a pep talk. Be kind to yourself and keep up the motivation. It takes up to 5 weeks to make new actions habits and so create a timeline and keep it. Can also recommend recruiting a friend for accountability and motivation.
2. Focus on not slouching
  • Just focusing on not slouching is another great way to improve your posture. Make reminders on your phone or post-its in your house and it will go a long way in helping you stand and sit straighter.
3. Look up more
  • Day after day of looking down is bad for your posture. The head is tilted, and stress is put on the muscles and joints of the neck. This stress alongside straining the eyes can cause headaches and prolonged poor posture will eventually lead to degeneration and poor posture. Holding your phone straight in front of your face (as if you were taking a photo) and lifting your PC screen will help your posture.
4. The right fit bra and comfortable clothing.
  • Having the wrong bra can impact your posture as it can inhibit a muscle called serratus anterior and this muscle needs to be strong to give you a good posture. When this muscle gets weak it will cause shoulders to roll forward and cause your shoulder blades to wing and your back to slouch. The best is to wear a bra that has no wires or the very least wear one that is the correct size and not too tight.
5. Stretch
  •  Make sure to incorporate a stretching routine for the neck and back. Stretching these muscles will help muscles get relief, decrease tension, and help your posture. As little as 5 minutes can do wonders and a good way to incorporate stretching is to do it while watching TV.

Keep reading for 4 quick stretches that will help you get there!

Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply

Forward Fold

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Downward Facing Dog

This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Pigeon Pose

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.