Everyone wants more health and energy, but in today’s busy world you may find yourself wondering how can you possibly squeeze in a full yoga practice as well as everything else that needs to get done?
The good news is that you don’t have to.
Whether you are interested in yoga to lose weight, tone your body or create more flexibility this article can help you to awaken your body in just a few minutes a day with one of my favorite gentle yoga stretches, ‘Half Moon Side Stretches’.
Half Moon Side Stretches
Half moon side stretches are great for lengthening both the left and the right side of your waist (great for summer!), and in addition target and tone tummy muscles, triceps and biceps as well.
The secret to this pose is that in order to keep your body in a straight line, you’ll naturally have to use your deep abdominal muscles for stabilization. This lovely yoga stretch a super easy way to get that great post-yoga feeling without having to spend hours at the gym.
How to Practice
- Start by standing in Mountain pose, allowing yourself to feel grounded and strong. Gently press all of your 10 toes into the earth and then bring some of your weight back into your heels, so that you feel balanced.
- Bring attention to your spine by drawing the tailbone down and drawing your naval in.
- Spread your arms out to the side, open your palms and fingers, extending your thumb away from your little pinky finger.
- Close your eyes and connect with your breath. Just breathe in and out here for as long as you like. This is a lovely way to slow down your mind, allowing yourself to come into the present moment and releasing any stress or tension in your day.
- Bring your palms slowly together with awareness into prayer pose in front of your heart.
- Open the arms out to your side and float the hands above your head, interlacing the fingers and press your palms up to the sky.
- Keeping the fingers together, gently stretch over to the right side, lengthening all the way up and down the left side of your waist. Breathe gently here and stay here only for as long as feels comfortable for you. Start with a few breaths and then build up over time. Keep lifting up and lengthening through your spine and drawing your chest up, with your gaze softly looking down towards the ground on the right hand side and your neck relaxed. As you become more comfortable here you can take your gaze up and look to the sky.
- Come on back to center and press the palms back to the sky while breathing fully and softly all the way down into your belly.
- Repeat on the other side, stretching over to the left side.
- Bring your hands back to center, release the fingers, open the arms out to the side and bring your hands back together in prayer pose in front of your heart.
- Take a moment to breathe in gratitude for all the things and people that you appreciate in your life today.
CHALLENGE: As you build more flexibility, as you stretch to the side, try to keep drawing the hands back towards the ears and behind you.
SEATED MODIFICATION: This stretch can also be done while in a chair and is highly recommended if you spend a lot of time sitting down at a desk.
Please leave me a comment below sharing some of your favorite ways for staying healthy in social settings – and any other questions or comments – I look forward to hearing from you!