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Anywhere, Anytime Yoga

May 25, 2016

No time for a class? These 4 easy poses fit right into your day.

Have a minute? In 60 seconds or less you can practice Yoga and gain significant and lasting benefits. No need for a Yoga mat or special clothing.

Yoga is a practice that can be done anytime, anywhere. And it’s accessible to virtually anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. If you can breathe, you can practice Yoga. These postures are designed to help you reconnect your mind and body, find proper physical alignment, and enhance your health.

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  1. Mountain Pose

    The most basic standing posture, Mountain Pose teaches us, literally, how to stand on our own two feet. Many common aches and pains, including back and neck pain, are often linked to poor posture. Practicing the healthy alignment of Mountain Pose can offer profound relief.

    Take a minute to come into Mountain Pose anytime you’re standing—whether you’re waiting in line, cooking dinner, riding an elevator or chatting at a party.  Here’s how to do it:

    1. Bring your feet hip-width apart and distribute your weight evenly on both legs.
    2. Feel the ground under your feet. From that place of rootedness, activate your leg muscles and lengthen up through your spine.
    3. Extend the top of your head toward the sky, being sure not to lift your chin—keep it parallel to the ground.
    4. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears and release any tension in your face and throat.
    5. Stack your joints, so that if someone were looking at you from the side, your ear would be over your shoulder, your shoulder would be over your hip, your hip would be over your knee and your knee would be over your ankle.
    6. Imagine a light at your breastbone and shine it forward.
    7. Take a few full, easy breaths, feeling as steady and grounded as a mountain.FullSizeRender (63)tree
  2. Tree Pose

    Balance poses teach some of Yoga’s most important lessons:  getting grounded,  staying focused, maintaining concentration and steadying the mind and body. The process of learning to balance with its inevitable falling and trying again cultivates patience and persistence, humility and good humor. These qualities help us do more than stay balanced in yoga. They help us stay balanced in life. Practice Tree Pose near a wall or countertop you can touch lightly for support.

    1. Stand tall in Mountain Pose (#1).
    2. Find a fixed spot at eye level and focus your gaze there. This helps stabilize your balance.
    3. Imagine sending roots down into the ground through your right foot and pick up your left heel. Then bend your left knee and, keeping your toes and the ball of your foot on the ground for stability, slide the sole of your left foot against your right ankle.
    4. Bring your palms together at your chest or extend your arms up to the sky, keeping your shoulders relaxed and down.
    5. Balance here for a few breaths. To increase the challenge, lift your left foot off the ground and place the sole against the inside of your right leg anywhere but at the knee.
    6. Balance for several breaths, then repeat with the other leg.PicMonkey Collageshoulder
  3. Seated Mountain Pose With Shoulder Shrugs

    This posture helps with proper sitting alignment, which can help relieve back pain as well as enhance respiration and circulation.

    1. Sit tall in your chair so that you can feel your “sit bones” — the two hard knobs at the base of your pelvis — pressing down onto the chair seat.
    2. Bring your hands to prayer.
    3. Extend the top of your head up toward the sky. Keep your chin parallel to the floor; avoid tilting it up or tucking it in.
    4. Stack your joints so your ear is over your shoulder and your shoulder is over your hip.
    5. Imagine a light shining out from your breastbone (sternum) and direct it forward, not down at the ground.
    6. On an inhalation, lift your shoulders up toward your ears.
    7. As you exhale, drop your shoulders down. You can also say “ha” and think about expelling all tension as you do.
    8. Repeat three to five times, synchronizing your movement with your breath. Keep your arms as relaxed as possible.FullSizeRender (62)chair p
  4. Chair Pose

    Practicing Chair Pose can enhance strength and balance.

    1. Sit toward the front of your chair with both feet on the floor.
    2. Take an easy, full breath in, then exhale as you lean slightly forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Press your feet into the floor and use the strength of your legs to stand. Make sure not to round your back as you do this.
    3. Inhale as you extend your arms toward the sky, bend your knees and lean slightly forward from your hips — not from your waist. At the same time, stick your bottom out and, without letting your back get round, lower yourself slowly back into the chair.
    4. Repeat five to 10 times, coming to a standing position, then slowly lowering yourself back to sitting. Be sure to keep the breath flowing; don’t hold your breath. For extra challenge “hover” with your bottom just above the seat.

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