The Best Exercise to Do While You Wait for Everyone to Get to the Dinner Table

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

Dinner’s ready, so where the heck is everybody? You’ve announced it, texted it, you’ve even rung a bell, but you’re still the only one in the kitchen. What’s a home cook to do?

It’s easy to start stewing: I know they heard me! What on earth is taking everyone so long? Don’t they know how much effort it took for me to get this done after a long day of work? And the food is getting cold!

But don’t! Whether you wind up waiting one minute or 10, you should use this time to do something for yourself. And that something should be relaxing.

So, chill.

What to Do While You Wait for Everyone to Get to the Dinner Table: Savasana

A restorative yoga pose like Savasana is just the trick to transition from that frazzled/annoyed state to being ready to enjoy dinner with the people you love (despite their conspicuous absence from the table), says personal trainer and yoga instructor Britt McVicar.

But, First: What Is Savasana?

Yes, this is the yoga pose where you just lay there like a corpse (in fact, that’s the charming name also given to this pose). (Note: If you’re worried about anyone’s response to finding you on the floor, maybe give them a heads-up first.)

It’s simple, but there’s more to it than just getting on the floor. “Sitting still is not a natural thing for a lot of us; that’s why I force people into it. Those first few minutes, you’re fidgety — you’re gonna want to move,” she says. But hang in there, and realize something: “You might not be in control of who’s going to get to the table when, but you’re in control of your breath, and that can be so empowering. Honor the idea that you deserve time; you deserve rest.”

How to Do It

Ready to give it a try? Spread out your yoga mat if you have one, put down a towel, or just get down on the floor. For extra comfort, Britt says you can roll up a dish towel to rest your head on or place under your back.

  1. Lay on your back with your eyes open or closed (whatever you prefer!). Britt likes to get her bum next to the wall and throw her legs up on it. “That will help all the tension and blood from the legs drain back,” she says. “It’s a tool for people who work on their feet a lot.” (Like, say, someone making dinner!)
  2. Be still!
  3. The next thing to do is notice your breath, Britt says. She likes to slowly count to 10 while inhaling and exhaling, with each step counting as one tick. “We have lots of important rhythms in our body — one of them is breath, and the cool thing is that we can control it. When I have my anxious moments, counting gives me that sense of control. It gives the brain something to do so the body can let go.”

Five or 10 minutes is fantastic, Britt says, but even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes you’ll get the relaxing, restorative benefit.

And if you do it for long enough, surely everyone will show up.

Ever stop to think about how much time in the kitchen is wasted waiting? Waiting for coffee to brew, water to boil, the oven to pre-heat, or people to get to the dinner table all adds up. Meanwhile many of us don’t have enough time to work out. Eureka! Why not slide a few key mini-workouts into those lulls? We talked with experts for recommendations on some real-world exercises you can do in the smallest of kitchens with no special equipment needed.