Yoga is an ancient but timeless practice which means yoga never goes out of style. The benefits of yoga are for everyone, everywhere. You don’t need to be young, flexible or thin. All you need to be is you. All you need to do is be present.
You may have an interest in yoga or at least in moving your body, stretching, or finding the calm and relaxation associated with a yoga practice. All you need is 10-15 minutes a day to experience the benefits of a consistent practice.
The purpose of this blog is to provide you with a few yoga postures or stretches you can do right now no matter where you are.
Let’s answer a few questions first.
Do I need special equipment or “yoga stuff” to practice yoga?
No. All you need is your body and the floor. A pillow, blanket, or a belt may come in handy, but they are not required.
How do I know if I’m doing it right?
Learning to listen to your body and to trust its messages is the key to a successful and long lasting yoga practice. The human body is one big sensor giving us constant messages about our temperature, position or balance, and level of comfort (or discomfort).
You will know if you’re doing a yoga posture correctly if you are feeling a mild to moderate stretch that does not cause pain. Pain is an indication that you have moved beyond something called “your edge”. Everyone’s “edge” is different. What feels good to one person may cause pain in another.
The quickest way to find your edge is to pay attention to your breath. If your breathing becomes labored, choppy, or strained, then you are pushing your body too far. When you are holding a stretch, your breath should feel smooth, easy, and light.
Focus on the feeling in the muscle(s) your stretching, and allow for a deeper stretch when the body is ready.
What else do I need to consider?
Find a comfortable place where you can practice without being disturbed. Choose a time each day that works with your schedule. You will get more benefit from practicing a little bit each day than practicing for a long time once a week. Let go of expectations and come with a sense of curiosity.
Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Certain medical conditions like muscle or joint pain or injury, pregnancy or recent surgery may worsen with some body movements.
So, let’s get started with some stretches you can do right now!
1. Seated Forward Bend
- Benefit: Back and Leg Stretch
- Sit on the floor with both legs stretched straight out.
- Straighten your back while allowing your shoulders to drop away from your ears.
- Keeping your back straight, bend forward from your hips as your hands rest gently on your legs or reach for your feet.
- Breathe slow and steady, and hold this posture for 20-30 seconds.
- Allow your body to feel the stretch behind your legs and in your back.
2. Standing or Seated Side Stretch
- Benefit: Shoulder, Neck, Back and Side Stretch
- If sitting:
- Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart.
- Place your right hand on your hip.
- Inhale and reach your left arm up imagining your fingertips are touching the sky.
- Exhale and bend over to the right until you feel a stretch on the left side of the body.
3. Lying Back Stretch
- Benefit: Low back Stretch
- Lie flat on your back.
- Bend your knees and lift them up to your chest.
- Wrap your arms around your legs to keep your legs close to your chest.
- You should feel a stretch in your lower back.
- Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
Enjoy exploring these yoga stretches!
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