We hear you. We feel your pain. Perhaps it’s another lockdown or there are no classes allowed at your gym due to tier restrictions. It’s tough without the camaraderie of your fellow members, the adrenaline hit you get when you walk through our gym doors, but we’ve got your back!
To insert a little calm into your life and maintain your fitness level, we’ve got some low impact exercise techniques you can try at home to balance your mind and body. Yoga involves a combination of both physical and mental exercises to help improve your posture, strength and flexibility. Whether you’re a newbie and starting yoga at home or want to practice your poses at home, our yoga classes at home will give you a full body workout.
No matter where you are, yoga has been proved to have physical and mental health benefits - it’s a win win class! A gentle, low-impact exercise class that not only stretches and strengthens your muscles, making you more flexible and bendy, but it’s known to lower blood pressure levels and minimise stress and anxiety.
If you are starting yoga at home, focus on your breathing as this will allow your mind to relax and then your body releases any holding tension. Plus, whilst you're focussing solely on your breathing, your mind is distracted from any external stimuli, including the kids, the washing and work. Yoga allows you to fully step away and focus on you.
Key to practicing yoga at home is stretching muscles that may have become tight as you sit about all day staring at your computer screen. Not to worry, we’re all in the same boat, lockdown life has gotten to us all but this is why a short yoga class at home is vital for getting that flexibility back to ensure you minimise the chances of pulling a muscle, injury or discomfort.
Even just 10 - 20 minutes a day, practicing your yoga poses at home can do miracles to your body both mentally and physically. We all need a little relaxation in our lives. So, let’s stretch together!
We’ve outlined some of our favourite yoga poses you can do at home without being at your usual yoga classes in the gym.
Great for: Posture
The tree pose is one of the most recognised asana positions, perfect for perfecting your balance and posture. This pose stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders, all whilst building strength in the ankles and calves. Plus, your abdominals will be working too!
All you need to do is take a few deep breaths, find a centre point in the room to concentrate on, slowly shift your weight to a chosen leg, for example, your left leg and then begin to raise your right foot off the floor. Place your elevated right foot inside your left thigh with your toes pointing down and your pelvis completely straight. Lastly, stretch those arms straight towards the ceiling with your palms pressed together creating an inverted V shape, then hold.
Cat - Cow Pose
Great for: Back & Core
The Cat - Cow pose is great for stretching and strengthening the spine, neck, back and abdomen. It helps reduce tension in the upper back and neck, improves your posture and coordination.
The pose can also massage and stimulate your organs including the kidneys, and is known to relieve pain from menstruation as well as pain experienced in the lower back.
To perfect the Cat - Cow pose, start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, point your fingertips to the top of your mat and place your shins / knees hip-width apart. Then, inhale and begin moving into the cow pose by dropping your belly towards the mat, lifting your chin and chest, and gazing up towards the ceiling. Now, it’s time to exhale and move into the cat pose where you draw your belly to your spine and round your back towards the ceiling. The pose should mirror exactly what a cat looks like when it’s stretching its back! Then, move your head towards the floor, but don’t force your chin into your chest, stay loose.
Repeat this movement 5 - 10 times, and then rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright. Once you master the breathing, the movement will just flow.
Downward Dog Pose
Great for: Legs
The Downward Dog pose, perfect for re-energising the body and mind, stretching the calves and hamstrings. This yoga pose is known to help relieve stress, lower your blood pressure and help with sinus problems.
Practice the downward dog yoga pose at home and follow our lead. Begin on all fours ensuring your knees are slightly behind your hips and your hands are shoulder width apart - fingers spread out wide too. Press your hands into the mat and gently tuck your toes under, inhale deeply, then as you exhale, lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs as much as possible.
Always try to inhale and exhale as deeply as you can when moving into your yoga pose. As you keep practicing, try lifting your hips higher on the inhale, and pressing your heels into the floor as you exhale. Don’t worry if your legs are slightly bent, just enjoy the stretch!
After a few long breaths, slowly release your knees back down to the floor, untuck your toes and lower your hips back down into a Child’s pose.
Great for: Back
The cobra is a simple back extension that stretches and promotes flexibility in the mid and upper back. Perfect for building strength in your back as well as your glutes.
This yoga pose can be practiced at home in three simple steps:
- Lie on your mat on your abdomen, place your hands palm down, beneath your shoulders and point your feet behind you.
- Lift your chest off the ground by straightening your arms, engaging your glutes and back muscles as you curl the chest away from the floor.
- Gaze upwards and keep your abs engaged.
We think it's both simple and effective. Give it a go and let us know how you get on!
Great for: Lower Back
The Child’s pose is a resting pose that has incredible benefits. It stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, allowing the front of the body to relax while gently extending the back of the body. Perfect for reducing stiffness in the lower back and stimulating the abdominal muscles. In just two steps you’ll feel relaxed and calm.
- Kneel on the floor with your toes together, knees hip width apart and rest your palms on your thighs.
- Exhale, lower your torso between your knees, extend your arms alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders towards the ground and rest in the pose for as long as you want.
You may not be in the studio with us right now but you can practice all your yoga poses at home. Remember all the health benefits included and you deserve 10 - 20 minutes of you time, away from it all. Stretch your way to a sleek physique with Flow Yoga. Natalie shows us how it's done...
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