Whether your yoga studio is still closed or you’ve decided to stick with the convenience of at-home workouts, getting your body moving is important for your health – and may have additional benefits for your mind.
This may be especially true with yoga, which has many added health benefits. The practice focuses on both mental and physical disciplines through grounded poses, controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation. It has been found to help increase flexibility, while reducing joint pain, in addition to focusing your mind.
The intentional breathing during yoga flow may help lower your blood pressure and heart rate, which may help relieve stress and anxiety. In addition to increasing flexibility, the thoughtful body movements may also help improve your balance, strength and range of motion. Together, these mental and physical disciplines may enhance your mood and sense of well-being.
If you are ready to reap the benefits of yoga, get your mat and towel ready. Jennifer Cross, a certified yoga instructor, put together an at-home flow you can do on the daily:
- Kneel on the floor, with your big toes together, knees can be together or wide. Arms can rest by your sides or reach forward, relax as you bring your forehead to rest the ground.
- Start by focusing on your breathing, as this is a foundation to yoga practice.
- While in child’s pose, inhale deep into your lungs and exhale out. Relax and feel heavy in the body.
- Do this for about five full breaths.
Half sun salutation
- Come to a standing position with your palms pressed together at your chest.
- On an inhale sweep your arms above your head, catching your left wrist with your right hand.
- Bend gently to the right on the exhale until you feel a stretch.
- Breathe in and out, focusing on your breath.
- Inhaling come back to center.
- Catch your right wrist with your left hand, bending gently to the left on the exhale.
- Come back to center on the inhale, look up for a gentle backbend. On the exhale, swan dive into a forward fold, hinging at the hips (not the waist) and letting your hands reach for your toes.
- On the inhale lift up halfway, placing your hands to your shins, flatten the back.
- Fold back down on the exhale, on the inhale rise all the way back up to standing.
- Exhale hands come to heart center.
- Repeat these steps three to five times.
- Focus on moving with the breath.
Plank into cobra into downward facing dog
- From standing, fold forward on the exhale, inhale into half-way lift.
- On the exhale place both hands on the ground and step your legs back so you are in a high plank position.
- Take an inhale and on the next exhale, with control, lower your body down to the floor.
- Keep your hands by your shoulders, untuck your toes, press down with the tops of the feet and on the Inhale lift your chest and head up into cobra position. Using very little weight in your hands to lift up. Use legs and back strength to lift up.
- Exhale release cobra, tuck your toes and push your body up into downward facing dog, bringing your body into a triangle shape.
- Spreading fingers wide, push against the ground and lift the tailbone up until you feel a stretch in your back. Stretch the heels toward the mat to stretch the back of your legs.
- Keep focused on the breath. Steady inhales and exhales.
Downward facing dog to low lunge
- In downward facing dog, raise your right leg in the air and step it between your hands, dropping your left knee down into low lunge.
- On the inhale place your hands to your right knee, lifting the chest and breathing deep.
- Sink your hips to feel the stretch in your hips, lift through the chest and back, while breathing in and out.
- When ready, exhale the hands down and step back into downward facing dog.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Return to child’s pose or lay on your back.
- Take this time to clear your mind.
- Focus on your breath and the blood flowing through your body.
- After several minutes, slowly bring yourself back up into a seated position, bowing forward as you say, “Namaste.”