If you had a long day being on your feet, Atilia Haron has a couple yoga moves to help you give your legs a break, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup.
1. Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This pose lets you stretch your neck, back, calves and hamstrings. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit phrase prasarita meaning wide stance, while pada means foot and uttana means intense stretch.
Start in the Tadasana position, where you stand straight with arms at the side. Then place your feet about a metre apart – this depends on your height, taller people should take a wider stance – and rest your hands on your hips.
Turn your toes in slightly and make sure your feet are parallel with each other. Lift your chest up making your torso longer than your back. Exhale and lean forward from the hips maintaining the length of the front torso.
Once your torso is about parallel to the floor, extend your arms straight and press your fingertips, pointing forward, into the floor directly below your shoulders for support.
“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” Atilia Haron, yoga instructor and co-owner of Yogaonethatowant studios.
Push your pelvis upward and slowly lower your torso to the floor. Continue bending at the hips with elbows curled to a 90-degree angle until you can rest the crown of your head on the floor.
If you’re up to it, instead of dropping your fingers to the floor try grabbing your toes with thumb, index and middle fingers. Continue to lower your head to the floor and keep the elbows bent as shown by Atilia.
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. To come out of the pose, push your hands to lift your head and straighten the spine. Stand up straight and jump back to Tadasana and rest.
2. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
The pose combines forward bending, backward bending and balancing. The Sanskrit phrase parsva means side or flank, and the pose requires strength, flexibility and lots of patience. The core needs to be active to help you maintain balance.
Start by standing in the Tadasana position, and then move one foot about a metre behind. Keep front foot facing forward and the back foot’s toes towards the heel of the front. Rest your hands on hip, press feet into the floor and activate your core.
Move from the hips and lean forward over the front leg keeping your spine lengthened. Press your outer thighs inwards, as if you're squeezing a block between your thighs.
Hands can be clasped behind the back and extended as Atilia, or clasped holding opposite elbows or in a reverse prayer position behind the body.
These hand positions help to open and stretch the chest, arm and shoulder muscles. Otherwise, place hands on the ground on either side of the front foot. Maintain pose for 15-30 seconds, rise up and repeat with the opposite foot in front.