It’s not quite yoga, not just a cool down. Yo-Down? Cool Yoga? Alright, that’s enough!
It’s no secret that I’m not a yogi. I don’t own cute yoga tops, my mat does not have a special carrier, and when 5AM rolls around, I’m all about that “Namaste in bed,” life.
That being said, I love mixing yoga flows into my weekly workout rotations for their great body weight resisitance and flexibility work. There’s nothing better than hitting the mat on Friday after a hard week to take it slow and deliberate and work out any soreness or tightness from the week. I love that yoga is versatile enough to be a great rest day workout that’s easy on your joints but can also be tailored into cardio exercise. In addition to the physical benefits of increasing flexibility, muscle strength and tone, and overall athletic ability, yoga is a fantastic practice for managing stress. Even if you don’t buy into any kind of meditation or chakra alignment, there’s just something about flowing seamlessly through a set of strengthening and relaxing moves that quiets the mind in a way no other workouts do for me.
Though I don’t perform a complete yoga flow everyday, I love to incorporate yoga poses into my cool-down routine. The cool-down is a vital piece of any workout. It provides the body with a smooth transition from exercise back to a steady state of rest. The main goal of a cool-down is to reduce heart and breathing rates, gradually cool body temperature, return muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships, prevent venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities [which could cause dizziness or possible fainting otherwise], and restore physiologic systems back to baseline. Basically, if the workout is the left-hand lane, and resting state is the next highway exit, the cool-down applies the brakes!
There’s no shortage of yoga flows and combinations out there. Here, I’ve compiled all of my favorite yoga poses and static stretches into one cool-dowm flow. I perform this daily after every workout, going through twice on each side. Watch the video to get the flow of the routine and check out the stills below to see each individual move! Make it Harder: Add a 45s plank onto the beginning and end of this flow for added strength and toning! Remember, every workout is customizable! Never be afraid to modify a program to make it work for you! Tell me in the comments below how you flow it down!