3. Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamukthasan)
This pose feels great—a nice, slow lower back stretch with a little self-hug in the middle. Strengthens abdomen, hips, and thighs. Effective in promoting digestion and relieving constipation and gas (“wind”).
- Lie on your back with legs straight, feet together, and arms at your sides.
- Inhale, then bring your right knees up to your chest as you exhale and grasp your leg just below the knee with your hands. Pull your knees as close to your chest as you comfortably can to feel the stretch in your lower back.
- Exhale and adjust yourself so that the small of your back touches the ground.
- Lift your upper back and bring your chin up to your knee. Stay for a few breaths.
- Exhale and release your upper back, arms, and leg.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- Exhale and release.
- Repeat, bringing both legs into your chest.
- Release both legs and allow them to lower to the floor as arms return to your sides. Rest for 15 seconds.
- Repeat 5 times.
4. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
This stretch improves digestion and tightens your abdominal muscles.
- Start on the ground with your belly to the ground.
- Reach back with your arms and grab the tops of your feet from the outside. The right foot should be held by the right hand and the left by the left.
- Relax your chin to the ground and ease your glutes and hips.
- Inhale and lift up the pose by pushing your shoulder blades together and raising your heart. Exhale and kick your toes upward as you pull with equal force with your arms.
- Inhale and exhale until you reach the limit of your stretch.
- To let go of the pose, release your legs and lay your arms under your head. Stay here for a few breaths.
- Repeat 5 times.
You can modify pose by reaching for your ankles instead of your feet.
5. Cobra Pose (Bhujang asana)
This pose increases spine strength and flexibility, but it should not be performed by pregnant women or people suffering from back pain or a hernia.
- Lie down on your belly with your legs in line with your hips and the tops of your feet touching the floor.
- Press your toes and knees into the floor to loosen your hips. Roll your tailbone back for better stability.
- Inhale as you lengthen your spine and bring your palms on the floor beside your chest, keeping your elbow along your sides.
- Push into your hands,rotating your shoulder back to push your shoulder blades together.
- Stretch all the way out to the crown your head, slightly curving your spine upward and back.
- Gently release and rest.
- Repeat 5 times with a break in between each pose.