Easy Yoga Poses
Yoga isn't all about standing on one leg with the other wrapped around the back of your head, or trying to balance in bizarre positions. Try these simple poses to feel the benefits of stretching your body with very little effort - some of them look like you're not even doing Yoga! Mountain Pose The Mountain Pose is as simple as standing on two feet but with a few little considerations that will engage all of the muscles in your legs: Feet close together, but not touching, and pointing forwards. Press the four 'corners' of your feet into the floor. Big toe, little toe, right of heels, left of heels. Now the legs are sorted, you can focus on the posture of your upper half: Look straight ahead and elongate your neck slightly by lifting the top of your head towards the sky. Roll your shoulders backwards in a circular motion and bring your shoulder blades closer together. Let your arms relax and hang however they want to. That's the Mountain Pose. Some might consider it as just standing better! Child's Pose This one looks like you're in a pile on the floor but it's actually really good for lower back stretching and opening the hips - perfect if you're usually sat down a lot. It also great for relaxing the neck, spine, and shoulders: Kneel on the floor and put your feet touching with toes pointing away behind you (don't tuck them under). Knees should be slightly wider than your hips natural position. Place your hands on the floor as far forward as you can and bring your backside backwards over your feet. Relax your upper body down into the floor. Move your hands further away to stretch the shoulders even more. Happy Baby Pose Great for the inner groins and calms the brain: Lie on your back and bring your knees as close to your armpits as you can. Grab the outside of your feet with your fingers curling over on to the soles. That's literally it, but don't let the fun name and simplicity of instructions mislead you. You can use your hands to help flex your feet, you can rock gently side to side, or even pull gently on the feet so you hips feel a little bit of extra stretch. Corpse Pose Probably the most lazy looking thing from the world of Yoga but there's a reason why experts and fanatics end their sessions in Corpse Pose. This pose's intention is to allow a complete state of relaxation - often creating a challenge itself. You shouldn't just lay on the floor though, a few little steps make all the difference: On your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lift your pelvis off the floor and slowly lower it back down. Put your legs out one at a time and try to stretch them as you place them down - image you want them to be a few inches longer as you put them down. Rest your arms on the floor by your side, palms facing up - don't force them up, often they'll turn in to your waist/hips naturally. Focus on feeling heavy and letting all of the muscles in your body relax - and don't forget the face. We hold a lot tension in our faces, especially the jaw. Once in Corpse, bring your attention to your breathing. By actively choosing to focus on breathing, it's easy to forget about everything else going on around you. While breathing, listen to your surroundings, can you hear a tumble dryer, or a tap dripping? Accept each noise as being part of that moment. Breathing Box Breathing is one of the easiest to remember because you breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, breath out for 4, hold for 4. Repeat a few times and you will feel more relaxed and refreshed. You can also do this for 6 or 8 seconds. Belly Breathing is when you don't breath to fill your lungs up - making your chest bigger. It's when you breath feels like its going all the down your diaphragm so your belly pushes out. Breathing like this can help you feel more relaxed.