Whether it’s heavy-duty decluttering or regular upkeep, spring cleaning can take its toll on your body. This time of year often stirs a desire to release the old (things, habits, patterns, people) that no longer serve your highest, best selves to make space for new inspiration.
Remember: Outer order creates inner calm, and cleaning is a great stress buster! Dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, re-painting, doing laundry, shredding papers, filling a giveaway bag are all great ways to spring clean and what a great workout, too!
Whether you’re a regular tidy-er, your work involves domestic labor, or you’re ready to KonMari your home, the yoga poses suggested below are beneficial for stretching achy shoulders, tight hips, and a sore back. The following yoga poses could be done before, during, or after housecleaning or yard work.
1. Seated Side Stretch
This pose stretches the lat muscles (the “pull-down” muscles), the intercostals (muscles around and between the ribs), and the shoulders. Opening up the range of motion on the side of the body allows for higher reaches and better twisting motion as you clean. Here’s how to do it:
- Come to a comfortable seated position, cross legged or kneeling on your heels.
- Rest your left hand on the ground next to your left hip.
- Reach your right arm up and across your ear.
- Lean over to the left to stretch the entire right side.
- Rest your right hand on the back of your head.
- Hold in stillness and breathe for 3 to 5 deep breaths.
- Pulse your right elbow to your left knee and open your elbow to the sky, alternate three times.
- Repeat on the left side.
2. Eagle Arms with Free Movement
This pose stretches the upper back, the upper lat muscles, deltoids, and shoulders. Opening up the range of motion in the shoulders allows for relief in the arms before or after cleaning. Here’s how to do it:
- Come to a comfortable seat, cross-legged or kneeling on your heels.
- Wrap your right arm under your left and give yourself a hug.
- Reach your hands around as far as you can. If that is enough of a stretch, stay there.
- Keep your elbows crossed and bring the backs of your hands to touch. If that is enough of a stretch, stay there.
- Keep your elbows crossed, cross your wrists, and bring the fronts of your hands to touch.
- Maintain the eagle wrap of your arms and begin to move: tip side to side, round and arch your back, move freely, or hold where it feels good.
- Release after 5 to 7 breaths and switch sides.
3. Low Lunge
This pose stretches the front of the legs, the hip flexors, the knees, and the ankles. Opening up the range of motion in the hips and legs helps make it more comfortable to squat and bend as you clean. Here’s how to do it:
- Come to kneeling, pad under your knees as needed.
- From kneeling, step your right foot forward.
- Come upright so your shoulders line up over your hips.
- Bring your hands onto your hips, down by your sides, or stretch them up alongside your ears.
- Bend your front knee until it lines up over your ankle. Adjust your front foot forward so that it is all the way down on the ground.
- Keep your back knee down or lift it up for a deeper stretch on the left hip flexor.
- Breathe for 5 to 7 breaths and repeat with the left foot forward.
This pose stretches the hips, the glute muscles, the groins, the knees, the ankles, and the inner thighs. Opening up the range of motion in the hips and legs helps make it more comfortable to squat and bend as you clean. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your feet wider than hip’s width.
- Turn your toes out and your heels in and begin to squat down.
- Bend as deeply as you can, adjusting the distance between your feet as needed for comfort in your knees.
- Rock from foot to foot for a few moments to allow your hips to open.
- Settle into stillness and allow your glutes to drop lower to the ground.
- Lengthen your spine and reach up through the crown of your head.
- Bring your palms together and press your inner thighs open for a deeper stretch.
- Hold for 5 to 7 deep breaths and release to a seated position.
5. Reclined Pigeon Twist
This pose stretches the hips, the glute muscles, the knees, and the low back. Opening up the range of motion in the hips and low back helps make it more comfortable to squat and bend as you clean. Here’s how to do it:
- Come onto your back.
- Extend your arms out to your sides.
- Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.
- Extend your right leg up and flex your foot.
- Cross your right ankle over your left thigh.
- Maintain this shape and tip over to your left side until your right foot touches the ground.
- Adjust your bottom knee for comfort.
- Keep your right foot on the ground and press your right thigh and knee forward/away from your torso.
- Hold for 5 to 7 breaths and repeat on the other side.
6. Corpse Pose
And finally, make sure to rest during or before rigorous housework. It’s important to rejuvenate and give the body time to relax. Here’s how to do it:
- Come onto your back.
- Extend your legs out long and relax your arms down by your sides.
- Turn your palms face up.
- Turn your head from side to side, enjoy a few deep sighs, and settle into stillness.
- Close your eyes and rest for 5 to 10 minutes (or longer!).
Put a final touch on your cleansed space by “smudging” and blessing the room. Try light dried sage, palo santo, or incense and send positive intentions in the space. Speak out loud what your hope to manifest in the space and the “vibes” you’d like to cultivate there. Happy cleaning and clearing!
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