Fitness

Four exercises to reduce stress and help you relax

Find instant calm, and enjoy a blissful full-body stretch, with these stress-busting moves

Masterfile

The plan: Do these four moves three times a week, and you’ll see more definition in a month or less. For faster results, add 20 minutes of cardio.

1. Half-moon pose
Hinge forward with one hand on floor and the other on hip. Lift back leg until parallel to floor. Hold for 5 counts. Raise arm straight up off hip. Hold for 5 counts. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Evenly distribute weight between hand and foot on floor.
Dial it down: Keep hand on hip and practise near a wall until you feel steady.
Amp it up: Look forward the ceiling. Lift bottom arm away from the floor.

2. Runner’s lunge to warrior I
Sink into runner’s lunge with knee stacked above ankle. Hold for 5 counts. Draw chest and arms up, palms together. Feel the stretch down your spine and back leg. Hold for 5 counts. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Keep head, shoulders, hips and knees facing forward.
Dial it down: Hold each position for 2 to 3 counts
Amp it up: Sink deeper into the lunge while in warrior I.

3. Balancing stick pose
Start in runner’s lunge with arms straight at sides, palms facing up. Straighten front leg and lift back leg until parallel to floor. Keep core tight. Hold for 5 counts. Switch sides.
Perfect your form: Roll your shoulders back, lift chin and keep both hips pointing toward the ground.
Dial it down: Raise leg to a 45-degree angle instead.
Amp it up: Hold weights. Pulse arms for 30 seconds.

4. Sun-salutation squat
Stand with legs together, shoulders stacked above hips and palms pressed firmly above heart. Lift arms toward ceiling and slowly sink into a half squat. Hold for 5 counts. Do 3 sets.
Perfect your form: Pretend you’re about to sit in an invisible chair.
Dial it down: Do fewer sets.
Amp it up: Lower into a deep squat and hold for 5 counts. Raise into a half squat and do 10 to 12 mini pulses.

*Mind-body bonus: Discover a deeper level of relaxation by matching movement to breath and making inhales equal in length to exhales.

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