It's a scenario that's all too familiar: after a long day of sitting at your desk, bashing away at your keyboard or driving around Melbourne, ferrying the kids to and from their seemingly endless list of activities, you find yourself tired, stressed and at the point where guzzling a whole bottle of vino is a likely option.
Oh yeah, we've been there too.
While alcohol, comfort food, and various other treats are tempting (so tempting!), there are much better, not to mention healthier, ways to de-stress. At the top of the list? Good ol' fashioned exercise, with one of the most popular options being yoga.
A great way to improve strength and flexibility, yoga is also one of the best ways to relax thanks to the focus on breathing, meditation and the overall connection between mind, body and spirit.
"But it's hard!" "I'm uncoordinated!" "I don't know what to do!" we hear you cry.
Fret not, dear Urban Listers, because the stretchy yoga pros from Yoga Flame in Moonee Ponds are here to help with their easy peasy guide to the most relaxing yoga poses around.
With a focus on dynamic yoga classes, Yoga Flame is one of Melbourne's best yoga studios, offering more than 30 yoga classes per week including Hot, Power Flow, Vinyasa Flow, Yin and Basics.
With classes to suit all ages and abilities, expert teachers to guide you through and only the best facilities and equipment, the Moonee Ponds yoga studio is a great place to get bendy, relax, and keep fit.
The best part? Yoga Flame has a sweet introductory offer for Melbourne yoga lovers – only $20 for 10 days of unlimited yoga! Oh yeah, it's time to get your 'om' on.
HOW TO RELAX | THE 7 BEST YOGA MOVES
We sat down with Emma Moulday, Yoga Flame's co-director and an expert yoga teacher herself, for her advice on the best yoga positions that'll leave you in a blissfully zen state in next to no time. (If there's one person who knows how to relax and keep fit, it's the lit-from-within Emma!)
HOW: Stand tall, making sure your feet are grounded into the earth as the crown of your head reaches for the sky. Let your collarbones widen, along with your chest and heart. Bring your hands to your heart in prayer pose, whilst enjoying the stillness around you.
BENEFIT: Mountain pose helps to improve the posture and assists the respiratory system by creating space in the heart and lungs.
HOW: Bring the sole of your right foot anywhere along the inner seam of your left leg (except on the knee!) Keep your standing leg straight, strong and steady as you reach your arms up to the sky. Breathe evenly and engage your core muscles to help you maintain your balance. Hold for 10 breaths before switching sides.
BENEFIT: Tree pose helps to improve balance and focus, along with creating a sense of space and lightness in the body and mind.
HOW: Come onto hands and knees, then press your thighs back strongly allowing the body to take on the shape of an upside down 'V'. Keep your eye gaze down towards your mat, letting your chest melt towards the floor and your heels sink towards the mat. Hold for 10 breaths.
BENEFIT: Down dog helps to relieve stress and improve digestion, whilst providing an instant energy boost.
HOW: From down dog, step your right foot forward up to your right thumb so the ankle is directly beneath the knee. Lower the left knee to the mat and shift your hips forward in a lunge. Interlace your hands behind your back, opening up the front of the torso and lift your gaze to the sky. Hold for 10 breaths before repeating on the other side.
BENEFIT: The low lunge opens up the hip flexors that can become shortened as a result of sitting for long periods. It also allows the chest to open, balancing out our natural inclination to slump forward.
HOW: Come to a kneeling position with your hips, knees and feet the same distance apart. Place your hand on the lower back for support and draw your elbows towards each other – the chest will expand then like a pigeon. From there, bring your eye gaze towards the sky and lift the torso from in between the shoulder blades, feeling a lengthening all the way from the thighs to the crown of the head. Hold for 10 breaths.
BENEFIT: Camel pose strengthens the back muscles, improves posture and helps to relieve mild back pain and fatigue.
HOW: Separate your knees and bring your big toes together, making sure they touch. Sit your hips back on your heels and bring your chest forward to your thighs. From there, reach your arms forward but allow the shoulders to relax. Your head needs to be supported so if it doesn't touch the floor; make a tower with your fists to rest your forehead on. Hold for one minute.
BENEFIT: Childs pose is deeply restorative as it allows the body to relax, relieving neck and back pain whilst providing a sense of calm.
Bound angle pose
HOW: Lie on your back with your knees separated and bring the soles of your feet together so they touch. Rest your arms beside you, with palms facing up and fingers curling naturally. Close your eyes and enjoy the quiet, grounding nature of the pose. Hold for three minutes minimum.
BENEFIT: Bound angle pose opens up the hips and groin, helping to relieve stress and anxiety whilst giving an opportunity to relax and simply be still.
Are we relaxed, Urban Listers?!
Model: Cecily Chun, Vinyasa Flow teacher at Yoga Flame.
Image Credit: Tash Sorensen, The Urban List.
TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by Yoga Flame and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.