In April, Boston startup Happier launched a $20 course called Yoga to Go, which is like bite-sized yoga for very busy people (or beginners).
If a one-hour class (and the requisite yoga pants) intimidates you, Yoga to Go is a way to get your daily fix of peace and stillness in just a few minutes. Each day of the one-week course features a two-minute video where you practice a pose, and a short article to read.
I just finished the course, taught by the lovely Chrissy Carter, and a few poses struck me as perfect for entrepreneurs. Here they are:
Because you’re sitting all day: Hip flexor stretch
For some reason, I remember my high school gym teachers telling me not to pull my knee backwards when I did a quad stretch, so I’ve been diligently following their advice ever since. Turns out, pulling your knee back can create an awesome stretch in your hip flexor, the muscles between your torso and thigh.
The dangers of constant sitting are all over the media lately, and part of the advice is to take regular breaks. After you walk around the block or grab a coffee, try the hip flexor stretch to ease your tense muscles.
Because your mind is racing: Tree pose
Tree pose has always been my personal favorite yoga pose, and now I may know why. According to Carter, tree pose absolutely forces you into the present. “It’s hard to think about your to-do list when you’re trying to maintain balance on one foot!” she says. “Tree Pose helps us to quiet the usual relentless chatter in our minds.” She adds, “When you come out of Tree Pose, I think what you’ll notice is a sense of alert awareness, but also a sense of focused concentration.”
Because you slump: Chest stretch
In this stretch, you place your palm on a wall at shoulder height, lift your breastbone up, and rotate your body away from the wall. “When you take your hand off the wall, you will feel open, expansive. Try taking a deep breath – you’ll be surprised what you feel,” says Carter.
This stretch should give you better posture, help you take deeper breaths, and even make you more confident. Carter cites a famous TED talk by Amy Cuddy, who explains that open, powerful poses increase testosterone while closed, defensive poses increase cortisol, the stress hormone.
The whole course can be done within Happier’s app, a community for sharing happy moments. Yoga to Go follows on the heels of the Meditation Vacation and Everyday Grateful courses, with more to come in the future.