Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward-Facing Dog
Come down to the floor onto your hands and knees. Align knees directly below your hips and hands slightly forward of the shoulders. Spread your fingers and turn your toes under. Lift your knees away from the floor. Start by keeping the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted.
If possible, slowly begin to straighten knees and draw the heels down toward the floor. Tuck your tailbone down. Release your head down, gazing between the knees or thighs. Spread the shoulders wide. Stay here for 5 to 10 breaths.
Benefits: This pose stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendons, arches and hands. It also strengthens the arms and legs, energizes the body, calms the brain, and helps relieve stress.
Padangusthasana: Big Toe Pose
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on the hips. Inhale, then exhale folding forward to grab your big toes or hang forward and grab your opposite elbows. Draw the belly in and lift your sit bones toward the sky. Activate the quadriceps and allow the neck and head to relax down. Bend your knees slightly if your hamstrings are tight. If flexible, draw the torso toward the legs. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Benefits: The pose strengthens the thighs and lower abdominals. It also stretches the back, hamstrings and calves as well as calms the brain and helps to relieve stress.
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