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Yoga on the Fly
Page 2: Poses for Work, Home and Just About Anywhere Else

Yoga positions can fit into some very unexpected places:

Standing in line at the market or bank? Practice what you've learned from Mountain Pose - put your pelvis in neutral, stand tall, let your shoulders hang easily. Divide your weight evenly between your feet. No one will even know you're doing it (unless you were just slouching like a surly teenager). Even better, wear flats when you run your errands - not only will it make it easier to practice a sneaky Mountain Pose here and there, your feet will feel much, much better at the end of the day.

(Article continued below.)

There are countless ways you can practice Yoga while at work - what you do depends on how much privacy you have. If you are lucky enough to have a private office all to yourself, shut your door during lunch time and just do a few Asanas for 15 minutes. You don't need much space - only about what a Yoga mat would take up. And there are loads of posture modifications you can practice right at your desk. You can do a twist right now, even if you have no privacy whatsoever: Cross one leg over the other. Lightly grasp the outer thigh of the top leg with the opposite arm. Grasp the back of your chair with your free arm where ever you can feel a comfortable stretch. Twist. Pretend you're looking at something over your shoulder. Now switch sides. Pretend you can get a better view by looking over your other shoulder. See how easy that was? And nobody is any the wiser. Shoulder rolls inspire you to sit up straight and are also excellent for the privacy challenged. No one's going to think you're goofing off if you do a few neck stretches (move your head side to side slowly, like you're saying "no," then up and down like you're saying "yes," then try to touch your ear to your shoulder) - it's only natural to do them periodically. If you spend all day at a desk, you really need to do these stretches, and a spinal twist, several times a day.

Here are a few more Yoga stretches to try in the office, if you can get away with them. Spread your legs apart, with your knees bent at right angles so that your calves are completely vertical. Bend forward from the hips, grasp your elbows and hang for a few moments. Breathe into your lower back. Here's another chair stretch you can do: place your ankle on top of your opposite knee so your legs form a triangle. Bend forward and drape your torso over the triangle. This is a great hip opener - remember to switch legs. Push the chair away and stand up. Again, bend from the hips and with a straight back, put your folded arms on the desk. Hold for a few breaths. Stand back up by unrolling your vertebrae one at a time, using the desk as a brace if you need to. Raise your arms high over your head and clasp your hands, palms facing up. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears. Take a couple of breaths as you stretch. Lean to the right. Stretch. Back to center. Lean to the left. Stretch. Lower your arms slowly to the sides. If you're pretty flexible, sit away from the back of your chair and try a reverse namaste (prayer position behind your back). It's a nice chest opener and reminds you to sit up straight - but try to avoid being caught doing this one. People will think you're eccentric, at the very least.

Do you spend a lot of your day on your feet? Remember to do those shoulder rolls and side stretches. There's also the 30-second Yoga Pose bathroom break. Before you leave the restroom, do a Standing Forward Bend, Powerful Pose or Tree. If you've only got the stall for privacy, you can at least do Mountain Pose, raise your arms over your head and get a nice vertical stretch (it is recommended that you pull your pants up first). It is possible to fit Yoga into nearly any situation. At the very least you can stand on one leg, point and flex the toes of the other foot, then draw circles with your toes. If you're behind a counter, no one will know that you're doing it.

At home, you can fit in any number of standing poses while you're cooking dinner. If you've got kids, you can do some Yoga Poses with them. Favorites among the youngsters are any of the animal poses (Cat-Cow, Downward Facing Dog, Bound Angle, which is known as Butterfly in kid language, etc.), plus the following move: sit cross legged, put your hands on your knees and make big circles with your torso - go one way and then the other. And you can always practice some sitting poses during the commercial breaks of a TV show - but if you're all that busy, you probably don't have time for television, right? If you do have time to sit in front of the TV, try practicing to a Yoga video now and again instead of watching a show. You'll be surprised at how much more energetic you feel the next day.

Bedtime is the perfect time to practice Shavasana. If you spend just a few minutes relaxing and clearing out your mind, you will sleep much better. And when you wake up, instead of leaping out of bed the moment the alarm goes off, take a few minutes to loosen up your body. Hug your knees to your chest. Practice Wind-Releasing Pose. If you can make as little as five minutes, you can practice some easy Asanas, like Cat-Cow, Spinal Rocking, or a few Sun Salutations to start your day. And if you're stuck in rush hour traffic on the work, remember to sit straight and keep your shoulders down. And if you need to look at the cars behind you, give yourself an extra, gentle twist.

While snippets of Yoga here and there won't replace a full-length class, they will certainly enhance your day. Clearing your mind and keeping your body stretched and flexible should come naturally. There's only one drawback to practicing Yoga on the fly - never again will you be able to say you're too busy for Yoga.

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