At the end of a jam-packed day, you finally arrive home -- exhausted. But with your mind still abuzz, rest seems impossible.
When your brain gets stuck in high gear, wind down with a simple seated twist, suggests Jasmine Tarkeshi, cofounder of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City and San Francisco.
"With this move, you fully tense up and release your muscles before twisting," says Tarkeshi. "The combination wrings out both physical and mental stress. With your mind and body now free from the day's tensions, you're ready to enjoy a relaxing evening and a good night's sleep."
What It Does
Cleanses the body of negative, wound-up energy; rejuvenates and calms the nervous system; relaxes the back muscles, spine, shoulders, neck, and hips.
How To Do It
1. Sit cross-legged and place a blanket under your hips for support. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four.
2. Inhale and tense all your muscles, from your face to your feet, then bring your shoulders up to your ears. Exhale through your mouth, release muscles, drop shoulders, and stick out your tongue (optional), letting go of all anxiety and stress. Feel your sit bones sinking into the floor.
3. On your next inhale, reach your arms above your head, lengthening your spine. Exhale and twist to the right as you bring your arms down, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right arm behind you, with fingertips on the floor for support. Turn your head to gaze back over your right shoulder.
4. Stay in this twist for 3 to 5 breaths. Imagine your spine lengthening; each time you exhale, twist a bit deeper.
5. On an inhale, extend your arms back up to the ceiling as you come through the center, then exhale into the twist on the left side. Stay for 3 to 5 breaths, again twisting more deeply with each exhale. Come back to center, reaching upward, and repeat the process on each side two more times.
Text by Jill Russell