The 87th annual Academy Awards are right around the corner and buzz is building every bit as much for the red carpet as the star-studded awards show. As the countdown to this year's Oscars race begins, Hollywood's biggest names are preparing with a whirlwind of pre-parties, dress fittings, make-up and hair appointments. So it's no wonder plenty of celebrities are turning to yoga for a last minute de-stress and tone-up session.
"This little sequence is a great way to get it all," says Emily Morwen, co-owner of Modo Yoga LA, a West Hollywood hot spot which reportedly caters to celebrity yogis including Edward Norton and Sophia Bush. "You're opening up your intercostal muscles making it easier to breathe, strengthening the stomach and back to support great posture and a healthy spine, opening up the hips and strengthening the legs for a strong lower back. You're also toning the arms and, lastly, giving your nervous system a well-deserved rest."
Incorporate these 5 poses into your regular practice 3 to 4 times a week to for a quick way to revive your mind and body. No Oscar nomination necessary!
1. Standing Crescent Pose
Standing with your feet together, reach your arms up overhead and interlock your fingers while releasing the index fingers to point up. On an inhalation, lift and lengthening out of your ribcage while keeping the shoulders down and shoulderblades moving down and into the back body. On the exhalation, keeping the length along both sides of the body, tilt to the right keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the front of the room. Breathe here for one cycle, then on your next inhale, come back to center. Repeat to the left.
See more step-by-step instruction for Standing Yoga Poses here
2. Chair Pose, variation
Separate your feet hips-width distance apart. Lift your arms so they are out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Engage your triceps and biceps as much as possible. Take a big inhale and, on the exhale, sit down low. If you feel strong in your legs, challenge yourself a little more by shifting the knees back so they are more in line with your ankles. Take slow and steady breaths here for 20 seconds while leaning your upper body back toward your hips. Come back to standing. Repeat twice.
3. High Lunge, variation
Standing with your feet hips-distance apart, bend your knees deeply and bring your hands to the floor. Take a big step back with your left leg. Focus on getting the front knee over the front ankle and the back heel right over the back toes. Straighten and engage the back leg while lifting your arms up and back, keeping them in one line with your body. Imagine you're on the starting block to a race. For added benefit, add a twist to the pose bringing your hands together in front of your chest with an inhalation. On the exhale, lift up and then bring your right elbow to the outside of the left knee. Breathe through one cycle then come back to center. Repeat on the other side.
4. Plank Pose
Go right from runner's lunge into Plank by taking both legs straight back to the top of a push-up position. Focus on your shoulders being over your wrists while toning your abdominals up and in and your thighs staying engaged and active.
See also Plank Pose instructions and benefits
5. Corpse Pose
Whether you're accepting an Oscar, walking down the aisle or getting ready for prom, sometimes it's most important to take a moment to stop. Lay on your back with your eyes closed, palms face up and feet falling open. Take 10 deep breaths in Savasana.
See more step-by-step instruction for Restorative Yoga Poses here