In these uncertain times it’s more important than ever to look after our mental and physical well-being – and staying active and mindful through yoga is a great way to do this. To stay active from the comfort and safety of our own homes, we’ve teamed up with yoga expert and doula, Kirstie, from @breathebirthyoga to bring you a yoga workout to try at home.
Stretching and strengthening for the whole body. I love the yoga saying, a downward dog a day keeps the doctor away! Begin on all fours. Tuck your toes under, pushing through your hands, and lift your hips toward the ceiling. If your hamstrings are tight keep your knees slightly bent, otherwise straighten your legs whilst pushing your hips back. Your heels should be heading down towards the floor, but don’t worry if they don’t reach. Press through your palms and spread your fingers, gazing toward your thighs. Bring in the abdominals and engage your legs to keep the torso moving back towards the thighs.
Hold for a count of 5-8 breaths.
Building strength and stamina, it also stretches the hips and thighs. It’s a soft backbend and great for opening the front body. Take a big step back with your left foot. Turn your left heel down and angle your toes to 75 degrees. Bend your front knee, ensuring your knee is above your ankle. Make sure your hips are level and your shoulders are back and down. Your gaze is towards the ceiling, between your hands.
Hold for 8 breaths before stepping forward and repeating on the opposite side.
An external hip opener and stretches the inner thigh and groin. Stand with your feet 1 leg length apart. Turn your right toes to face the front/short edge of your mat and your left toes to 45 degrees. Bend your right knee, so that this is directly over your ankle, keeping your torso up straight. Extend your arms to shoulder height and gaze over your front middle finger.
Hold for 8 breaths.
This pose is fantastic for balance and requires so much concentration, that your mind won’t wander to the worries in the outside world. It opens your pelvis and strengthens your glutes and abdominals. My top tips for balance are to focus on a point and don’t look away from it. Also, visualise roots growing out of the sole of your standing foot, growing into the ground, rooting and stabilising you. Once grounded on your standing foot, bring the sole of your other foot to either your inner ankle, your inner calf or inner thigh, go with the level you’re comfortable with. Bring your hands in to prayer at your heart centre.
Hold for 8 – 10 breaths.
Great for stretching your hamstrings and improving fatigue and anxiety, as well as helping with headaches and insomnia. Come forward very slowly, vertebra by vertebra, until you are as forward as you can comfortably manage. If your hands don’t make it to the floor, bend your knees or place your hands on your shins, or even on to your thighs. If you want to keep your legs straight, then you can hold on to opposite elbows. Let your head and shoulders hang heavy.
Hold for up to 10 breaths.
A fantastic counter pose for the forward bend, whilst strengthening the legs and glutes. This pose is also great for stress reduction. Lie on the floor and bend your knees, so your feet are flat on the floor, close to your bottom, at hip width apart. Pressing through your feet and hands, push your tail bone up and gradually lift your tail bone, bottom and hips off the floor. Keep your knees directly above your heels but push them forward and ensure they don’t come out to the sides. Never turn your head from side to side, keep it still and central.
Hold for up to 10 breaths.
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