The Crescent: A Relaxing Beginner’s Yoga Posture

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If you’re starting to get into yoga, but need to work your way up slowly into the more strenuous poses, here is one that can get you going. In fact, this posture — the Crescent, or Crescent Moon — is one you can do on its own to relax with, even during a busy day. Just go to some quiet space for ten minutes or so, and you can lower your stress levels. Even your office restroom might do, if there’s nowhere else.

Stand up straight with your feet touching, and lift your arms over your head. Press the palms together, and maybe link your thumbs to keep them that way. As you inhale, stretch your arms upward, lengthening your spine. Then lean slowly toward your right side, feeling the left side of your body gradually lengthen and stretch. Be sure not to allow yourself to lean forward, but keep all your motion sideways. After a few seconds, come up again, slowly, and let yourself settle before bending in the other direction.

The Crescent can be done, to right and left, a few times as you slowly stretch and let yourself relax. Or some practitioners, after going right and left, then go backwards, still keeping their legs and arms straight while pushing their hips forward and opening the chest. After that, they straighten up and slowly go forward, until the tips of their fingers touch the floor.

While the ideal is to do this posture wearing your regular exercise clothing, you can get away without it when sneaking it in during the work day. As well as helping to loosen tense muscles, the Crescent provides surprising relief from stress. Just doing two or three repeats of right-left-back-forward can loosen you up and give you more energy to face the rest of your busy day.

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