Hi, and thanks for stopping by my weekly-recurring blog: “Ask A Yoga Teacher.” My name is Tara and I’m a writer by day, yoga teacher by night. I recently graduated with my 500-Hour Yoga Certification and am I obsessed with yoga! I love learning new poses and am constantly seeking that yoga “high” you get from taking an amazing class.
Every week, we invite readers to submit questions related to all-things yoga. You can email me at talk at herdaily dot com and I’ll do my best to answer your question. Last week, I promised to answer Amelia’s question, ““If I only do two yoga poses a day (one in the morning, one at night), which two should I do?” This is such a great question — and a really great way to ease yourself into yoga (if you don’t do yoga already).
The pose above is called apanasana, or knees to chest pose. You can do this pose while you’re still lying in bed! To do the one-legged version of this pose (just to start, then we’ll do the full pose), extend your left leg out straight and bend your right knee to your chest. Wrap your hands around any part of the leg that feels comfortable for you: Behind the knee or over your shin. Breathe in this position for a few inhales and exhales. Switch legs by extending your right leg out straight and bending your left knee to your chest. Hold the left side for the same amount as you did for the right. When you’re finished on the left side, hug both knees into your chest, curling yourself into a ball if it feels OK on your neck and shoulders. This pose is a great one to do in the morning, because it helps keep your low back limber and calms the mind. Apanasana is also good if you have indigestion or feel bloated. So, if you ate a ton of pizza the night before (cough, cough), this pose can help.
Viparita Karani, or legs up the wall, is a great bedtime pose (see photo directly above). This pose is as easy as it sounds. Lie down on the floor with your bum against the wall and swing your legs up the wall. The taller you are, the further away from the wall your bum will be (just a few inches), so experiment until it feels comfortable for you. If you have tight hamstrings, bend your knees a little bit. You can extend your arms out to the side in a “T” shape or drape them down by your side. Lie here for about 10 times to help relieve edema, or fluid retention (this pose is great after a long airplane ride, too). This pose also relieves mild backache — and calms the mind. If at any point in this position your legs start to go numb, bend your knees and put your feet together. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and gently roll to your right side. Lie on your side for a minute and then gently sit up. Give your legs a little shake if they feel stiff.
I hope this post answered any questions you might’ve had about the yoga poses to try in the morning and at night. I’d be happy to follow up or expand on anything I mentioned today. If anyone else has any questions, big or small, feel free to email me at talk at herdaily dot com or ask us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #askayogateacher. Next week I’ll be answering Heather’s question, “I drive two hours to and from work. Are there any poses I can do to help relieve any driving-related stiffness?”