Yoga is great at any time to reduce stress and feel more centered in your body, mind and spirit. When you can’t make it to a full class, here’s five easy postures to help you feel calm and at ease anywhere and anytime.
Warrior 2 Variation
Remind yourself that you are steady, strong and capable with this fierce warrior pose. The shoulder opening arm variation will release tension throughout the upper body.
Step your legs a full leg length apart and turn the right toes out ninety degrees. Let your left toes turn in slightly. Bend the right knee directly over the center of the ankle until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. (Don’t let the knee go past the ankle or fall inwards.) Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips. Reach the right elbow up and the left elbow down, either binding the hands behind your back or grabbing for your shirt. Breathe for five to ten steady, even breaths through your nose. Then switch sides.
This pose strengthens your legs and opens your hips. The hands are in lotus mudra, a reminder that even the beauty of a lotus flower can grow out of the mud. Do this posture and feel open to transformation.
Step the feet apart about four feet and turn the toes out forty-five degrees. Bend the knees over the center of the ankles without letting the knees fall inwards. Keep your spine straight. Join the hands at your heart with the pinkies and thumbs touching, all the other fingers reach out to form the lotus flower. Hold for five to ten deep breaths through your nose.
Downward Facing Dog
This inversion lengthens the back of the body while strengthening the shoulders, arms and legs. As your head lengthens below your heart, feel your mind quiet.
Start on hands and knees with the hands shoulder width apart and the fingers spread on the floor. Tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back, trying to reach the hips away from the shoulders while the heels reach towards the floor. Feet are hip width apart. Hold for five to fifteen deep breaths.
If you can’t find a suitable space on the floor, do this at the wall instead. Start with your feet hip-width apart a leg-length away from the wall. Lean forward and place the hands shoulder width apart on the wall. Lengthen your spine, reaching the hips away from the wall. Relax your head down.
Warrior 1 Variation
This posture strengthens the legs and opens the hips. The arm variation will open the tops of the shoulders and stretch the upper back. The gentle backbend helps you to feel the openness of your heart.
Start with the feet hip-width apart. Step the left foot back about a leg-length apart from the right foot. Turn the left toes out to a forty five degree angle and ground the left heel. Keep the hips facing forward and lift your lower belly to lengthen the tailbone and keep the torso upright. Bring the right arm underneath the left arm, crossing above the elbows. If possible, join the palms together. Lift the arms up and wrists forward, finding a backbend and looking up. Hold for five to ten steady breaths through your nose, then switch sides.
Twists neutralize the spine and help release any tension held in the belly. Use this balancing posture to bring yourself back to feeling centered.
Stand on the left foot and lift the right knee. Hold the outside of the right knee with the left hand. Reach the right hand behind you. If you can, look back at the right hand. Hold for five breaths and then switch sides.
These five postures are a quick, easy practice to bring yogic calm and joy to your daily routine.