Girl doing a Yoga pose on a mat

Feeling the stress of caregiving?  We understand that!  Here’s a quick 10-minute destress and stretch workout from Women’s Health that will revive your spirit and relax tense muscles.

The Workout

Slowly and gently move into each of the yoga poses below. Once you’ve settled into each full pose, focus on deep breathing from your belly. Allow your breath to flow into the lower part of your abdomen, so that it expands as you breathe in and deflates as you exhale. This is diaphragmatic breathing. With each exhale, consciously relax and release tension throughout your body. Focus on slow and controlled breathing, inhaling to a count of five and exhaling to a count of three. Take five to 10 deep and slow breaths in each pose (on both sides when applicable) before moving onto the next.

Check out the workout in our pin-able graphic, and then find step-by-step instructions for each exercise right below it.

Exercise 1. BRIDGE POSE

Begin by lying on your back with knees bent and feet on floor. Bring your heels close to your butt so that your fingertips touch your heels. Brace your core: Contract your ab muscles like you would in anticipation of someone punching you in the tummy. Inhale, and on the exhale, push into your heels so that your hips rise up towards the ceiling. Tuck your shoulders back and down as you reach to clasp your hands together underneath your hips. Hold this pose for five to 10 breaths. Then, release your handclasp and slowly lower down to the starting position.

Exercise 2. CHILD’S POSE

From a kneeling position, bring your toes together but keep your hips separated at shoulder-width distance so that your knees are wider than your feet and your feet are under your pelvis. Sit up tall and inhale; on the exhale, walk your hands forward on the floor until your forehead rests gently on the floor. As you hold this pose while breathing, lengthen forward with each exhale and try to walk your hands out farther. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then slowly walk your hands back until you are upright.

Exercise 3. PIGEON POSE

Get into a hands-and-knees position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Bring your left knee forward and place it just behind your left wrist. Position it so that your knee is in front of your left hip and your left toe is near your right hip. Sit up tall and inhale (A). On the exhale, slowly walk your hands forward until you are in a forward bend with your arms extended until you feel a tolerable stretch in your left hip. Depending on your flexibility, you may be able to rest your chest on your left thigh. Simultaneously, allow your right leg to extend behind you until it is straight and the top of your right foot is on the floor (B). Hold this pose for five to 10 breaths, relaxing deeper with each exhale. Use your hands to slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the pose with your right knee forward.

Exercise 4. TRIANGLE

Face the right side of the room, and stand with your feet about three feet apart. Keep your left toes straight towards the front of the room, but allow your right toes to open outward (imagine a clock, and point your right toes to 1:00). Allow your legs to be long and straight without locking your knees. Your hips should open to the right slightly. Reach your left hand down to your shin, and stretch your right arm up to the sky, allowing your torso to stretch forward towards your left foot. You can either look down at your left foot or up to your right hand. Keep your legs and core strong as you hold this pose and breathe for five to 10 breaths. Slowly release and return to the start, and complete the same sequence with your right leg forward.

Exercise 5. FORWARD HANG

Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart, legs straight and knees unlocked. Inhale, then on the exhale, slowly release and bend forward, allowing your hands to drop towards your ankles. Allow your head and neck to release and hang heavy towards the floor (A). Inhale, and on the exhale, bring your arms to a crossed position, hanging towards the floor and under your shoulders (B). Relax into this pose and breathe for five to 10 breaths. Bend your knees slightly, then slowly unroll back up to a standing position.


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