Fitness

Four great stretches to bring you instant calm

10-minute workout: In the middle of the holiday chaos, carve out a quiet moment to ease your mind and soothe your body

pigeon

Pigeon

cat-cow stretch

Cat-cow stretch

lower body twist

Lower-body twist

wide-leg toe touch

Wide-leg toe touch

yoga, meditation pose, woman

Masterfile

Before you begin: You need an exercise mat.

1. Wide-leg toe touch
Step into a wide stance, arms at shoulder height. Bend forward and reach right arm toward left foot and left arm up. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Return to standing and repeat on opposite side. Do five sets.

Perfect your form: Keep your shoulders back and down from your ears.
Dial it down: Reach toward opposite knee instead of foot.
Amp it up: Breathe deeply and deepen the stretch.

2. Lower-body twist
Lie on your back with arms bent, hands beside your ears. Lift legs so hips and knees are almost 90 degrees. Squeeze abs and drop knees to one side. Hold position for two or three breaths, then bring legs back up and over to the other side. Do five sets.

Perfect your form: Glue upper back and arms to floor.
Dial it down: Do the exercise with a ball under your legs.
Amp it up: Perform move with straight legs.

3. Cat-cow stretch
Begin on your hands and knees in tabletop position. Starting with your head, round your spine up to the ceiling (cat). Then reverse it: From your tailbone, drop your core toward the floor and lift your head (cow). Do 12.

Perfect your form: Keep arms and knees directly below your shoulders and hips.
Dial it down: Do the cat or cow portion only.
Amp it up: In between poses, kick each leg up and back.

4. Pigeon
Start with hands and feet on the ground, body in an inverted V shape (downward dog). Lift one leg in the air, then swing it forward and lay shin on the ground perpendicular to body. Lower chest while reaching back leg straight behind you. Collapse body over front leg. Hold for two minutes per side.

Perfect your form: Flex front foot to protect your knee.
Dial it down: Place a towel under your buttocks.
Amp it up: Engage back leg.

Stress-busting bonus: Inhale and exhale deeply as you do these stretches, matching your breath to the movement.