Binge-watching an entire series has become the new normal, but slumping on the couch for a marathon “House of Cards” session can seriously throw off your posture and strain the shoulders, back and hips. This five-pose yoga session stretches those muscles and is the perfect couch-potato antidote. You don’t even have to hit pause — just hold each pose for 5–10 breaths while watching.
1. STAFF POSE
This pose might not look like much, but it strengthens the core and the back, stretches the hamstrings and improves posture.
The Move: Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Engage the abdominals, and sit up tall through the torso so your shoulders are over your hips. Flex your feet, push through the heels and actively ground the legs into the floor without locking the knees. All 10 toes and both knees should point to the ceiling. Place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Keep the fingers facing forward and actively press into the floor to lengthen your torso even more. For added support, sit with your butt and back against the base of your couch or wall. To deepen the hamstring stretch loop a strap or towel around the ball of your foot and gently start to fold forward keeping your back straight. If your hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, sit on the edge of a folded blanket to lessen the strain.
2. BOUND ANGLE
Also known as butterfly or cobbler pose, bound angle stretches the inner thighs, groin and knees, opens up the back and improves posture.
The Move: From staff pose, bend your knees and bring the soles of the feet together. Pull your heels as close to the body as is comfortable and let the knees drop toward the floor. Press the outer edges of the feet together, and use your hands to gently open the feet like the pages of a book. For added support, place a throw pillow or blanket under each outer thigh. To come out of the pose, gently draw the knees together, straighten the legs and give them a little shimmy.
3. SEATED PIGEON
There’s almost no bad time for pigeon. It opens up the hips, groin, hip flexors and thighs making it a great remedy for a long run, day of skiing, trans-Atlantic flight or entire season of “Narcos.”
The Move: From staff pose, cross your right ankle over your left thigh, just above your knee. Slowly, bend your left knee and walk your left foot closer to your butt. Flex your right foot and gently press your right thigh open. Hold for 5–10 breaths, and switch sides.
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The pose rebalances the natural curve of your spine after a long day of couch surfing. It opens the shoulders, chest and lungs and stretches the abdomen.
The Move: Lie down with your forehead on the floor, your legs extended behind you and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Slide your elbows under your shoulders, forearms and palms flat on the ground. Inhale and lift your head and torso up, pressing into a soft backbend. Keep your legs engaged and your elbows tucked into your sides. Hold for 5–10 breaths and release on an exhale.
5. WIDE-LEG STRADDLE
This pose lengthens the hamstrings, releases the low back and opens the groin, which will help counterbalance all that sitting.
The Move: Sit on the floor and open the legs wide. Flex the feet and — keeping the spine long — start to walk your hands forward on the floor. Grab a few couch cushions and place them under your hands for extra support.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT SESSION