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These yoga moves pretty much feel like a massage


Thumbnail for These yoga moves pretty much feel like a massage
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Photos: Elena Mudd

In the same way that you can do less and get more out of your yoga class, so too, can you master moves on your mat that feel like a massage.

I repeat: there are yoga moves that feel like a massage…for free. And according to Beth Cooke, a New York City yoga instructor and the co-leader of the Well+Good Retreat at the Cedar Lakes Estate in Upstate New York, these unicorn sequences are an excellent restorative practice that’ll aid in prehab and recovery, two fitness trends currently on the rise. “It’s a really cheap way of self-soothing the body—you don’t have to go spend millions of dollars at the spa; you can do it on your own,” she says.

By knowing just a few go-to moves (three to be exact, which Cooke shares below), you can get started today. Keep scrolling to find out the yoga moves that are so good, you might be able to break up with your masseuse.

Beth Cooke

Yoga move to massage: armpits

“Step your right foot forward into your low lunge, and stack your right armpit on top of your right knee—it fits like a ball in a mitt,” says Cooke. “Then make a fist with your right hand and just start to roll the armpit on top of the knee. I know that sounds pretty funny but there’s actually qigong pressure points in your armpit so as you roll your knee into your armpit, you’re reducing anxiety—it helps to relieve stress. We also have so many glands inside of our armpit so you’re flushing yourself out. Take it on both sides and repeat as often as necessary.”

Beth Cooke

Yoga move to massage: abdomen

“Sit back into the heels and take your two fists into your abdominal muscles,” directs Cooke. “You don’t have to punch anything it’s not anything forceful.” Instead, fold over into a child’s pose and use the heels of your palms to massage around your hips relaxing the muscles in your lower abs. “I would stay here for as long as you need, rocking your hips from side to side, flushing out your belly and then bring yourself back up,” Cooke suggests.

Yoga

Yoga move to massage: calves

“Similar to a foam roller, take one shin on top of your other calf and start to roll the shin down the calf,” instructs Cooke. “If it’s a little sweaty, it might get sticky, but you’re rolling through the calf muscle and then you can pause half-way down and press yourself back to a child’s pose. From here, try not to scrunch up the face, because you probably will feel it. Try to release and count to about five solid inhales and exhales and then make your way up and you’ll just switch sides.”

By the way, your massage shouldn’t actually hurt…and this is the massage therapist-approved hack to avoid having achy feet while you travel.

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