If you've ever woken up after a vigorous workout with sore, stiff muscles, you'll be happy to know that yoga can help ease the pain. Sally Barber, co-owner of the Westfield Yoga Center in Massachusetts, recommends this easy standing pose to relax and elongate your muscles.
Benefits: Strengthens the thighs, calves, and ankles.
- (Shown above) Stand with your feet together. Raise your arms over your head and keep your palms shoulder-width apart. If you're more flexible, press your palms together.
- (Shown above top left) Bend your knees and lower your hips as if you were about to sit in a chair, bringing your weight to your heels. Keep your back straight and your neck in line with your spine. Continue squatting until your thighs are about 45 degrees to the ground—if you can squat further without discomfort let your thighs come parallel to the ground. To protect your knees and ankles, be sure your thighs stay parallel to each other and align your knees with the front of your ankles (don't let them extend over your toes).
Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds. Return to standing, arms at your sides.