5 Minutes of yoga to do at home
Always remember a little is better than nothing. Doing 5 minutes when you wake up in the morning to get your body moving is such a great way to start the day for your mind, body and spirit. Doing the sun salutation for 5 minutes is a great way to feel better and get those aching muscles moving. The most important thing is not the particular variation, rather it is the synchronisation of the motion of your breath with the movement of your body. The motion of breathing is what drives the movement of the body into, through, and out of each of the poses in the sequence. An easy way to apply this is to allow all upward movements to be coupled with the motion of inhalation and all downward movements to be coupled with exhalation. For example, raising your arms overhead and stretching up is coupled with your inhalation and hinging forward and down is coupled with your exhalation.
A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.
- Mountain Pose: Start by bringing your feet and legs together, spread your toes. Make sure your heels are rooted and firm your legs. Then, roll your shoulders back and down and spread and lift your chest.
- Extended Mountain Pose: Inhale through your nose and raise your arms up to the side palms facing upwards. Extend your arms above your head with your hands in prayer position.
- Forward Bend: Be sure to bend your knees especially if you have tight hamstrings. Exhale through your nose. Open your arms wide and bend at your waist to a standing forward bend. Your hands should touch the floor if you can or if not the front of the ankles.
- Standing Lunge: Inhale through your nose and place your hands next to your feet on the floor and step one foot back into a lunge. Keep the front knee directly over the ankle and keep the back leg firm. Now, exhale and bring the other foot back to form the downward-facing dog position.
- Downward-facing dog: Spread your fingers and press your palms into the mat, they should be shoulder width apart. Now, lift your hips up towards the sky, lengthening your spine. Gently straighten your legs, pressing your heels down into your mat as far as you can go.
- Plank pose: Inhale and take your shoulders forward directly over your wrists, extending well with your arms to form plank position. Keep your thighs strong and firm, your feet flexed and your belly drawn in.
- Knees-chest-chin pose: Exhale and bend your knees to the floor and then lower your chest and chin to the floor. Keep your chest open and your elbows close to the side of your ribcage.
- Cobra: Inhale and raise your upper body to the cobra pose. Roll your shoulders back and extend the shoulder blades down and press them in towards the chest. Your chest should be lifted and open and elbows should stay close to the body. Make sure to lift up your knee caps and firm your thighs. Your legs and feet should be well extended. As a variation, you can also do an upward dog.
- Extended child's pose to dog's pose: Exhale and tuck in your toes while bending your knees and pushing back to the extended child's position. If possible, in the same breath move directly back to downward-facing dog. Pull the belly up and towards the back of the spine.
- Standing lunge: Now this is where we repeat in reverse the first three posturesthat start the sun salutation. Inhale, bring your one foot forward in between your hands to the lunge position. Now, exhale, and bring the back foot forward to join the front foot so that your feet are together. Hands on the floor or ankles.
- Reverse swan dive transition: With knees slightly bent, inhale and lift your arms up to the side with your palms face upward to the sky. Now extend the arms above your head in prayer position.
- Mountain pose: Exhale to return to Mountain Pose to complete the Sun salutation.
- Repeat the Sun Salutation again on the other leg.