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Into Fitness - Yoga any time of the day for busy people

Don't have time to commit to aregular yoga practice? Don'tsweat it. You can still reap thebenefits of some great yogaposes in 5-15 minute segments wheneveryou have the time.

Don't have time to commit to aregular yoga practice? Don'tsweat it. You can still reap thebenefits of some great yogaposes in 5-15 minute segments wheneveryou have the time. Whether you want tofit in a bit of yoga first thing in the morning,in the mid-afternoon, or before youhit the hay, I've got some sure fire poses toleave you feel rejuvenated, relaxed, andsupple.

So you get up with the birds?Performing a quick yoga practice firstthing in the morning is a great way toawaken the senses, lengthen the spine,oxygenate your muscles, and center youfor the day's activities. Since you've beenlying down for the last eight hours or so,starting on your feet with some standingposes is a good option.

Mountain Pose is a good place tostart. Stand tall with feet together, equalweight between both sides and the balland heel of your foot, and arms lengthenedbeside your body. As you allowyour breath to fill your belly, ribs, andchest, lengthen your head to the ceilingand feel the grounding of your feet to thefloor. Variations of this pose includestanding with legs hip width apart,reaching arms overhead and stretchingfrom side to side. This is a great pose toground you for the day.

Tree Pose is one of my favorite balancingposes. From mountain pose,bring the bottom of one foot to youropposite ankle, knee, or thigh. Focus onpushing the foot into your opposite legas the leg pushes into your foot andagain stand as tall as possible. Bringingbalance to your body first thing in themorning is a great way to start your day.

Need a refresher half way throughyour day? After sitting at your desk allday, your body is no doubt sufferingfrom a bit of stress; especially in theneck, and upper and lower back areas.Try these poses to refocus you for therest of your day.

Seated Twist. You don't even have toget out of your chair for this pose. Simplysit tall; ensuring your weight is equallydistributed on your sit bones. As youexhale, turn slowly to the left, allowingyour body to twist from the bottom ofyour spine to your neck in a sequentialmanner. Place your left hand on theback of your chair and your right arm onyour armrest. Hold for 3-5 breaths andrepeat on the other side.

Standing Backbend. Standing tallwith feet just slightly apart, and naveldrawn toward spine, place your handson your low back area. Inhale as youlook to the ceiling and then exhale asyou support your low back with yourhands and move into a slight backbend.

Shoulder and Chest Opener. Raiseone arm to the ceiling and then bendingyour elbow, drop your hand betweenyour shoulder blades (palm touchingbody). Allow your other arm to lie alongthe side of your body and then bend theelbow and reach your hand (palm awayfrom body) up in between your shoulderblade. Do you hands touch? If this is difficult,keep a towel or yoga strap at yourdesk to assist you with this pose.

Is your only spare time just beforebed? This is a great time to focus onposes that de-stress the body and promoterelaxation, ensuring you get a goodnight's sleep and wake up at your best.

Cat and Cow Pose. Kneel on yourhands and knees (ensure wrists areunder shoulders and knees are underhips). As you inhale, look up and moveinto a slight backbend, then as youexhale, look down and arch your backinto a Halloween cat position. Keep thisflow going as you focus on moving withyour breath. A variation of this is to shiftyour hips to the right as you look overyour right shoulder, come to center, andthen shift your hips to the left as you lookover your left shoulder.

Child's Pose is great to relax the armsand backs. From cat/cow, sit back onyour heels and stretch your arms out infront of your body (or rest them by yourlegs). If you have tight quads, place arolled up towel between your calves andhamstrings.

Corpse Pose is the ultimate relaxationpose. Lie on your back with your armsbeside you (palms to the ceiling) andallow your legs to naturally fall open. Ifyou have a tender low back or find thisposition uncomfortable, place a bolsterunder your knees to relieve pressure inthe low back. Starting from the bottomof your body, tighten groups of muscleson each inhale and focus on relaxingthese muscles as you exhale. Movesequentially up the body, allowing yourentire body to completely relax.

Want to try a class instead? Try a classwith Tabitha Logan at Yoga Works Studio(1120-103rd Avenue). For info callTabitha at 782-7139 or check out thestudio on Facebook.

Yoga is about tuning into your bodyand connecting with your inner being.Close your eyes, breathe, and let yourmind shut off the chatter for just a fewminutes. Your body, mind, and spiritwith thank you for it!

Becky Cryne is a BCRPA certifiedPersonal Trainer and Group FitnessInstructor, STOTT Pilates Mat andReformer Instructor, CFP Pre and PostNatal Fitness Specialist, and ETW YogaExercise Specialist. She can be reached atcryne@telus.net