Yoga classes are a great way to improve your physical and mental health. Some of the more elaborate yoga poses may seem impossible to master at first, but if you attend yoga classes regularly you’ll be surprised how quickly you will master them.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our yoga practice, but fortunately you can still enjoy the benefits of yoga by incorporating yoga principles into your everyday life.
If you love yoga then you’re probably already familiar with the many physical benefits, including:
- Increasing muscle strength
- Increasing balance
- Perfect posture
- Greater flexibility
- Reducing aches and pains
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Weight loss
Yoga also has some important mental health benefits as well:
- Improving anxiety and depression
- Boosting memory and concentration
- Reducing the effects of post traumatic stress (PST)
Yoga at home
Regularly attending classes is the key to reaping the benefits of yoga, but you can also improve your wellbeing by practicing yoga at home. If you’ve never done yoga before then you should first consult your doctors and attend a yoga class. If you have some experience, talk to your yoga instructor and ask for some pointers about practicing at home, but these simple techniques should work as a great starting point.
1. Morning sun salutation
Mornings are hectic, but they don’t have to be. Morning sun salutations are the perfect way to start your day. Welcome the new day and the morning sun with this simple morning ritual:
- Start off in Mountain pose (standing tall)
- Raise your arms straight up and clasp your palms as you inhale (upwards salute)
- Exhale and fold forward (standing forward fold)
- Rise into a half standing forward bend
- Breath out, bend your legs, plant your hands on the ground and move backwards into plank pose
- Slowly lower yourself into the four limbed staff pose (or a modified position if this is too difficult)
- Inhale and slide into the upward facing dog pose
- Exhale and roll your toes back into the downward dog pose
- Inhale as you bend your knees and return to the half-standing forward bend
- Exhale and fold transition into the standing forward fold
- Inhale and raise your arms back into the upward salute
- Return to mountain pose
2. Breathing techniques
If you are stressed out, or just want to improve your wellbeing, practice yoga breathing techniques. Whether at home, at the office or even while driving, taking a few minutes to practice your breathing will help you focus your heartrate, calm down and concentrate.
3. Stretch at the office
You don’t need a yoga mat to stretch. Try side stretches, backbends, the cow face pose or seated twists to relax your muscles and your mind while sitting at your desk.
4. Practice Santosha
Yoga isn’t just about stretching. Try sitting for one to three minutes at a time focussing on all the things you are grateful for in your life.
5. Five minute meditation
Take five minutes out of your day to practice meditation. There are many techniques you can use, but the simplest is simply to concentrate on your breathing, on a candle or a simple mantra.
6. Yoga on your lunch break
Use your lunch break to sneak in a quick yoga session. You’ll come back rejuvenated for the second half of your day!