5 Minutes to Less Stress


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  17 comments   :  71,905 Views

Are you feeling tense? Do you suffer from back pain or stiffness? Whether you're an experienced yogi or a fitness newbie, whether you can touch your toes or are very inflexible, this 5-minute yoga-inspired stretching routine can help you unwind anytime of day or night.

You don't need any equipment, and, as long as you have a floor you can kneel on, you don't even need a yoga mat. Since it's just five minutes, you can even do this in your regular clothes.

If you're spending a lot of time in the car this holiday season, give this routine a try! For your convenience, I not only provide detailed instructions below, but I also created a printable, downloadable, pinnable graphic for you (scroll down!)

Child’s pose:

Starting in a kneeling position.
Keep your knees together but separate the feet and allow your bottom to rest on the floor. Roll your calves away from your thighs (use your hands) to help you get comfortable.

For a deeper stretch:
Sit back on your heels, shins together, tops of the feet pressing onto the mat. (Place a rolled-up towel between your heels and hips to ease this stretch.)

From here, start to lower to the floor. Your belly will rest on or between your thighs, and your forehead will reach towards the mat. (Place a towel or a yoga block under your forehead if it won't reach the floor.

Stretch the arms alongside the body, with the fingertips facing the toes, to stretch between the shoulder blades.

TIP: Roll your forehead back and forth across the mat with your arms along your sides to help alleviate sinus congestion.


Child's Pose (Long Arms)

From child's pose, stretch the arms out in front of you, palms down, to feel a stretch up the length of the back.  Keep the forehead on the mat, and keep the back of the neck relaxed.

Child's Pose (Arms to Side)

Keep the arms outstretched, palms down on the mat. Take the hands out to the far left side of the mat, feeling the stretch up the right side of the body. (It's OK if the hips lift.)

Breathe here for 30 seconds, then walk your hand to the far right to get a stretch up the left side of the body. Stay for 30 seconds.

Keep the forehead on the mat, and keep the back of the neck relaxed.

Thread the Needle Pose

Return to Child's Pose (Long Arms). Come onto your hands and knees. Bring your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under the hips.

From here, slide the right arm under the left arm, palm up. Let your right ear and cheek rest on the mat, and gaze toward your left. Feel the right shoulder draw closer to the floor. Keep your hips up and your elbow lifting. Let the lower back relax and feel the twist in your spine, in addition to a release in your shoulders, arms, and neck.

Stay here for 30 seconds, then slide the right arm back to center and switch sides. Stay for 30 seconds on the other side.

Puppy Pose (variation)

Return to Child's Pose (Long Arms). Lift the hips and come onto the fingertips. Allow the middle of the back to round, and keep very little weight in the fingertips. Let the head hang heavy (you can shake it back and forth a few times), and keep the weight in your shins. Stay here, breathing deeply, for one minute.

TIP: Avoid squeezing the shoulder blades together in this pose. Tuck the chin to the chest to avoid doing so. This pose will help loosen the spine and hydrate the discs.

Optional: Return to either Child's Pose or Child's Pose (Long Arms) for one minute.
Which of these poses if your favorite?

Which of these poses felt the best? Where did you feel the stretch most?

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  • 17
    They are definitely soothing. - 1/22/2018   7:01:27 AM
  • 16
    It's amazing how the body feels after 5 minutes of these yoga stretches. It's a good beginning! - 1/21/2018   12:15:51 PM
    Absolutely great - 1/3/2018   5:06:31 PM
    Really liked the article and the poses! - 8/9/2017   11:05:15 AM
  • 13
    These are great stretches. - 6/25/2017   1:39:43 AM
  • 12
    Will most definitely try these! - 6/7/2017   6:44:57 AM
  • 11
    If you are spending "a lot of time in the car" trying these, I hope to God I am not in front of, behind, or beside you in traffic. Duh! - 1/10/2016   6:34:58 AM
  • 10
    lovely - just being in the Child's Pose makes me start to feel kind of emotional - I loved the Thread the Needle and the Puppy Pose too - I haven't done those before. - 9/18/2014   4:02:01 AM
    Excellent post! I think that stress is a way to know we are alive. So we should celebrate our awareness of our life and congratulate ourself on our achievements
    https:// www.facebook.com/RealStressSolution
    / or https:// www.angelabussio.com - 4/1/2014   2:25:40 AM
  • 8
    Sorry...I think the directions sound confusing. For the child's pose, it says your bottom needs to be on the floor and your feet apart and knees together, but then it says to have your shins together and the picture shows bottom on your heels. Guess I need to just take a class and see it in person. - 1/18/2014   11:43:23 AM
    I need something geared for men and in a printable format. I use a community computer in my senior high-rise, not a personal one in my apartment. - 12/30/2013   5:51:10 PM
  • 6
    There are videos of PRISCILLA PATRICK on YouTube doing her PBS-TV Yoga program, so they can be watched again for free. Her web site is www.yogaone.com Priscilla is now 70 and still teaches at her studio in South Carolina. She's 5'6" and 110#. She looks great. - 12/23/2012   12:40:18 AM
  • 5
    Hmm - probably not so great for stress relief at the office :0! - 12/21/2012   1:19:56 PM
  • 4
    I've never tried yoga, sounds like a good thing,

    karen - 12/21/2012   1:13:58 PM
  • 3
    I love yoga. I am new to it. I llike thread the needle and child's pose (long arms). - 12/21/2012   4:47:50 AM
  • 2
    Many pictures of yoga poses are just one way to get started in a pose. With help from a qualified instructor, modifications - from sitting on a chair and using the arm positions- to standing and using the arm positions - can give you the outward visual representation of the poses. What gives the positions their stress - busting benefits is how you breathe and allow the body and mind to sink into relaxation.

    Yoga poses have benefits for all bodies - when practiced with care and respect for what you are able to do at the present time. - 12/21/2012   12:14:08 AM
  • 1
    My knees are screaming just looking at this. I can say this is not for me. I used to like long arm one before I lost my knee's cartilage. - 12/20/2012   10:23:50 PM

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