Yoga is a centuries-old practice that connects mind, body and spirit. The benefits of daily yoga are endless. Not only is yoga a full-body workout, it also keeps you flexible, improves your posture, relieves stress and re-energizes you. There are specific poses that work as a natural stimulant to your mind and energy levels, speed up your metabolism, and each only takes a few minutes to do. Try these 5 yoga moves soon as you can!
1. Cat to Cat Lift
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly in line with your shoulders, and your hips in line with your knees.
- On an inhale, round your back upward like a rainbow and tuck your tail under.
- This is Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana.
- On an exhale, lower and arch your back down like a smile, lifting your tail.
- This is Cat Lift. Repeat this sequence for 2 minutes.
- This move stretches the torso, back and neck and releases tension from your spine and lower back.
2. Up Dog to Down Dog
To begin this sequence, start with Up Dog.
- Lay on the floor face down with your hands ready to press your torso upwards.
- On an inhale, straighten your arms and look up.
- This will lift your torso and give a wonderful stretch to your abdominal muscles.
- Keep your legs straight and toes pointed.
- Stay for a breath and prepare for Down Dog.
- Tuck your toes under and on an exhale, lift your hips, supporting your weight evenly between your arms and legs.
- To really feel the energy of Down Dog, press your heels into the floor as you lift your sit bones.
- Let your head hang naturally for a few breaths.
- Repeat this sequence for two minutes.
3. Mountain Pose
Mountain pose, or Tadasana, is a great way to get up and stretch, especially if you find yourself sitting at your desk all day and struggling to stay awake.
- Stand up, feet shoulder width apart, with your sit bones tucked under and your arms at your sides.
- On an inhale, raise your arms above your head and reach up toward the ceiling, inhaling deeply in Mountain Pose.
- Feel the stretch in your side waist and the lengthening of your torso and spine as you release your sit bones.
- On an exhale, return your arms to your sides, pulling your belly in.
- When you do this, imagine your bellybutton pulled so far in it is touching your spine.
- Repeat this sequence for at least one minute.
4. Chair Pose
Chair Pose is a great way to get your blood circulating, speeding up your metabolism and reenergizing your entire body.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms straight out in front of you, palms down and inhale.
- As you exhale, slowly lower your body as if sitting down in a chair behind you.
- Raise your arms as your body lowers, keep your feet flat, and do not let your knees extend out past your toes.
- Hold for a breath, inhaling as you return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 2 minutes.
5. Standing Forward Fold
The Standing Forward Fold, or Uttanasana, provides a wonderful stretch of your hips, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
- Standing up straight, arms relaxed at your sides, inhale.
- As you exhale, fold your body by bending at the hips, not at the waist.
- With your head hanging, you can cross your arms and let them hang also to aid in the stretch.
- To further stretch and challenge your flexibility, place your hands around the back of your calves and pull your torso into your legs.
- Never do this forcibly – in yoga there is no force, only slow and gentle movements.
- Inhale as you return to the starting position. You can stretch your arms upward and touch your palms for an added stretch in your spine as you return to the start.
- Do this for 2 minutes.
You can do these yoga poses separately, or back to back in a sequence. If you do all of these 5 poses for two minutes each, you will have done a 10 minute mini-yoga workout. With time and practice (2-3 times a day for an ongoing period of time), you will notice a remarkable improvement in energy throughout the day as well as increased flexibility, improved circulation and a decrease in stress and tension. Perhaps this will serve as an introduction to a daily yoga practice for you. The more you practice yoga, the stronger and more flexible your body will become. With strength and increased flexibility you will naturally feel more refreshed and energized. Namaste!