Last updated: Nov 09, 2011

Like many folks, I often feel achy this time of the year. The culprit? Bracing against the cold New York City weather with my shoulders hiked up to my ears, not to mention the tension from wanting to "do it all" for the holidays.



To feel better, I do this soothing sequence: Cow to Cat to Dancing Cat to Extended Childs Pose. It opens up the hips, back, shoulders, and neck, plus gets the blood flowing without having to stand (the last thing I want to do when Im creaky). Go through the series (both sides) 3 to 5 times, then stay in the final pose as long as you want. Think of it as a little daily gift to yourself.

How to do it:

cow-pose
Jay Sullivan
1. Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips. On an inhale, arch your back (like a swaybacked cow), and look up to the ceiling.



angry-cat-pose
Jay Sullivan
2. On an exhale, round your spine, hollow out your low belly, and tuck your chin to your chest (like an angry cat).



dancing-cat-pose
Jay Sullivan
3. Inhale, drawing your right knee to your nose.



extended-child-pose
Jay Sullivan
4. Exhale, extending your right leg back in one straight line as you level out your back, shoulders, head, and neck. Inhale as you drop your knee to the floor and gently arch your back again.



child-pose-blue
Jay Sullivan
5. Exhale and sit back on heels in Extended Childs Pose, bringing forehead to the floor with arms stretched forward. Inhale, return to all fours, and repeat the entire sequence on opposite side.