Half Tortoise Pose provides maximum and ultimate relaxation. It’s amazing to just let the body sink into this pose and really feel all the bliss as your head goes below your heart. It is great for tense necks and shoulders. It also increases blood flow to the brain, which enhances memory and mental clarity. This posture also stretches the lower part of the lungs, which is therapeutic for asthma. It counters indigestion, flatulence, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (which, let's face it, after all that Thanksgiving food you'll probably need relief from the most. Just sayin...).
- Sit down on a yoga mat with your buttocks resting on your heels.
- Inhale and lift both your arms to the sky. Bring the palms of your hands together and intertwine your two thumbs together. Your arms should be straight with your biceps touching your ears. Straighten your back and feel the stretch.
- Exhale and slowly pivot down from your waist until your little fingers and forehead touch the yoga mat.
- Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds while you continue to breathe normally.
- Inhale and come back to the starting position with your hands straight up in the sky above your head.
- Exhale, release your arms, and come back to sitting on your heels.
To increase the stretch, straighten the arms so that the wrists, elbows and triceps form a straight line. You will feel the stretch in your shoulder blades. Ensuring that your buttocks remain rested on your heels will also increase the stretch; this can be achieved by keeping your mid-section taut. Do not draw your chin into the chest when performing the stretch. Try to keep it as far away from your chest as possible while keeping your forehead rested on the mat.
Have a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving everyone!