You're flowing from a plank into rockstar pose (which is like an inverted, one-armed tabletop position) when—disaster!—you trip up a bit and suddenly the rest of the yoga class is already onto the next move. Your inner-yogini? Feeling kind of mortified.
You're not alone in that. "Subconsciously, we all enter into a competitive space when we exercise," says Lena Dunham in the latest episode of "Lena Dunham Does Yoga." It's something that worried her when she was recuperating from a series of surgeries. "I was self-conscious," the Girls star recalls. "I've been sick, and I didn't want to be in a yoga class lagging behind everyone."
Instead, she opted to bring her asana home (with Beth Cooke as her guide). It's something the actress admits is a luxury, but her goal with this series is to inspire people to roll out a mat anywhere—yes, even in the middle of their dining area, like Dunham does. "I hope that people can watch this video, connect to some of these poses, and take [their yoga practice] to their home," she explains.
And there's no move that will better help you release some of the tension that builds up every single day quite like pigeon pose.
Watch the latest episode of "Lena Dunham Does Yoga" for more of the star's insightful commentary—and while you do, consider getting into pigeon pose with these tips from Cooke.
"They say we store a lot of emotional scar tissue in our hips, a lot of trauma in our hips, [so pigeon pose] gives us the chance to breathe," explains the yoga instructor. Here's how to assume the position:
1. From hands and knees or downward dog, sweep your right knee behind your right wrist.
2. Place the outer edge of the right foot down towards the left side of the mat.
3. Square your hips as best as you can towards the front of the mat.
4. Stretch your left ankle straight back from the left hip behind you—you should feel compression in the right hip.
5. If you feel a sharp pain in the right knee, roll over to your back for a reclined pigeon which looks like a figure four on your back.
6. With every exhale, allow your body to soften and melt into the floor.
Our brand-new video series "Lena Dunham Does Yoga" features none other than Lena Dunham and her yoga instructor BFF Beth Cooke going with the flow at home. Because when the actress-director-writer (and burgeoning yogi!) invites you to her Brooklyn apartment for an afternoon of vinyasa—and totally unfiltered girl talk—you grab your mat. Tune in for new episodes of the series every day, all week long.
For more hacks on releasing stress, here's a brilliant—but simple—trick to dealing with negative thoughts. Or you could try this all-natural alternative to Xanax.
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