No time for a full yoga class? Follow this quick sequence of five key poses to help you relax. Hold all poses for several deep abdominal breaths and don’t force yourself into the postures – yoga should never involve a struggle. Do this series twice through for a 30-minute workout.
Exercise 1: Corpse pose
Good for – relaxing muscles, relieving stress
Do it – lie on your back on a mat, let your feet drop out to the sides, with your hands away from your sides, palms facing up. Concentrate on breathing deeply and allow your whole body to melt into the floor. Hold for five minutes.
Exercise 2: Cow pose
Good for – releasing muscles in the lower back, stretching out the chest
Do it – start on your hands and knees, back flat. Inhale, reach your chin forwards and upwards, opening the chest. Hold for a few seconds, then exhale back to neutral. Move immediately onto cat pose.
Exercise 3: Cat pose
Good for – increasing mobility in the spine, toning arms and abs
Do it – exhale and squeeze your stomach muscles in as you round the spine up towards the ceiling. Tuck in your tailbone and drop the head to relax your neck. Hold for a few seconds, then return to neutral. Repeat the cow-cat cycle five times.
Exercise 4: Child’s pose
Good for – calming the mind, stretching spine, hips and thighs
Do it – start in a seated kneeling position, slowly lean forward until your forehead touches the floor. Stretch your arms out in front, or behind you with your palms up. Try to keep your bottom on your heels. Hold for one minute, breathing deeply.
Exercise 5: Plank
Good for – toning abdominals, strengthening arms and wrists
Do it – start on your hands and knees, walk the feet backwards, then come up onto your hands and toes, with wrists directly under shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line, pull in the stomach and hold for a few seconds. Drop your knees to floor. Repeat.
RELATED: Is yoga the missing link?