Home Workouts: 5 yoga moves to help you relax

Yoga has become really popular during the past few years and it’s easy to see why. It’s cheap to practice (all you need is a yoga mat to get you going), you can do it at home and it’s a great stress-buster. So why is yoga such a great way to unwind? Well, it’s all about the breathing. Yoga breathing is deep breathing – expanding your diaphragm and abdomen, increasing oxygen flow around the body and, ultimately, helping you feel more relaxed. If you have done some yoga before in a class setting, and would like to now try some moves at home, the following are five moves that will bring about a feeling of relaxation and calm.

Warning: These yoga poses should be attempted gently and are at your own risk. Do not proceed if any of them are painful. 

Start off by sitting comfortably on the floor with your knees folded and your hands resting lightly on your knees. When you are ready, breathe ten deep breaths, taking your time with them – inhaling slowly, filling up your chest, ribs and belly, before slowly exhaling the same areas – belly, ribs, chest. When you are ready to begin the moves, start.

Downward Dog
This is one of the most popular yoga moves out there. The pose can form part of your overall yoga routine but if you haven’t got time for a full-on routine and can only grab five minutes in the day, then this is the move to try. To get into this position, start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Concentrate on your posture and maintain a strong, level back. Curl your toes under and press the balls of your feet to the ground, pushing yourself up to the ceiling to get into the inverted V position. Slowly push your heels to the floor, tuck your chest in and look at your feet. Maintain this position for 30 seconds before releasing. Repeat as many times as you like.

Lie face down with the tops of your feet on the floor and your thumbs resting directly underneath your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and push your hands to the floor as you raise your head and chest to face the space in front of you. You should feel a slight stretch in your back – hold the pose for around 30 seconds and repeat as many times as you like.

Stand with your legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning your right foot out 90 degrees and bring your left foot in slightly. Bring your arms to your hips, relax and then slowly move your arms out to the side with your palms facing down. Bend your right knee slightly and focus your attention to the space in front of your right hand. Hold the pose for a minute and try to avoid wobbling. Focus on your inner strength and imagine yourself as a powerful warrior!

Legs up the Wall
An absolutely great move for any beginner – laying flat on your back on the floor, position yourself next to a wall and rest your heels and legs against the wall. It’s as simple as that! The idea is to increase blood flow to your head so it’s a great move to try after a busy or stressful day.

Don’t let the name put you off… most yoga routines end with this move and it can seriously chill you out. The pose is designed to put your body at ease and in a total state of relaxation. It couldn’t be a more simple move either – lie on your back with your arms and palms facing upwards and resting about 45 degrees from your body. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths through the nose. Focus in on any areas that feel particularly tense and try to release and relax them. Stay in the pose for around 10-15 minutes, or until you fall asleep!

Adapted from this article, reproduced here with thanks to Clipper Teas.

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