How to Do It: Begin on your hands and knees. Align wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Spread fingers and press into palms. Tuck toes and lift knees off the floor. Gently try to straighten legs and raise hips into an inverted V. Breathe deeply for 10 breaths. As your muscles relax, try to straighten legs more and sink heels toward the mat.
How to Do It: From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Lower your left knee and, keeping the right knee over right ankle, slide the left knee back. Turn the top of your left foot to the floor and lift your torso upright. Then sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead. Drop your tailbone toward the floor and look up. Hold for 10 breaths, release, and repeat on the other side.
Toes Squat Pose to Ankle Stretch Pose
How to Do It: Kneel on your mat with toes curled under. Sit back on heels (you can place a yoga block or pillow between heels and glutes if you like). Breathe deeply for 10 counts. Then, point toes, place your hands on the mat behind you, and lean back as you attempt to lift knees off the mat. If knees don’t come far up, don’t worry. You’ll still feel a nice stretch in shins and arches. Hold for a few breaths, then release.
Reclining Hand to Big Toe
How to Do It: Lie on your back with both legs extended. Bend right knee, loop a yoga strap (or dog leash or belt) around the arch of the right foot, and hold both ends of the strap with right hand. Try to straighten right leg. As hamstring relaxes, try to gently pull it toward you. But don’t strain—you should feel a good stretch down the back of the thigh. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.
How to Do It: Lie on your back with knees bent and thighs parallel and hip-distance apart. Cross left ankle over right thigh. Reach left arm through the space between thighs and reach right arm around the outside of right thigh. Clasp hands below right knee and flex left foot. If your head comes off your mat, place a pillow or block behind head. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.
Reclining Cow Face
How to Do It: Lie on your back and cross knees, sending feet out to sides. Hold onto right foot with left hand and left foot with right hand. Or if it’s more comfortable, hold shins. Pull heels in toward body, then out to the sides and slightly up. Hold for 10 breaths, then reverse leg position and repeat.
Reclining Spinal Twist
How to Do It: From Reclining Cow Face, lower your legs and twist to left while keeping legs intertwined. Extend both arms out to sides. Turn your head to the right and relax for 10 breaths. Switch sides.
Legs Up the Wall
How to Do It: Sidle up beside an open wall space, with your hips as close to the base of the wall as is comfortable. Swing legs up the wall and lie back. Rest here anywhere from 10 breaths to 10 minutes. Some people even nod off—sleep is the most essential recovery pose.
How to Do It: Sit with your feet on the floor, mat width apart, dropping your knees to one side and creating a pinwheel shape with your legs. Walk your hands away from your body and drop to your forearms. Hold, then repeat on the other side.
How to Do It: Place your elbows under your shoulders with legs relaxed. Keep your head in a neutral position, let it fall forward, or rest it on a block.