In celebration of International Yoga Day, we have prepared the perfect guide to introduce you to the world of meditation through 5 yoga poses you can easily fit into your daily routine.
Within the yoga universe, there are endless practices that delve into different physical, mental and spiritual aspects; however, each of these themes stems from one basic principle, which is to be conscious of your movements and breathing to connect the body, mind and spirit. Today, we have 5 simple poses that you can work into your day-to-day life, helping you to discover this skill without needing to be an expert.
Let’s start with a list that we hope will help you to achieve a positive change in your life:
Mountain Pose, or Tadasana
This pose helps prevent issues with the sciatic nerve and spinal column. It seems very simple, since it is essentially the natural pose we make when standing; however, being conscious of it brings big benefits to the mind and body.
- Start off standing on the ground with your feet together, making sure your heels are touching each other and your big toes are touching each other. Make sure your toes are extended, pressing down slightly on the ground. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.
- Stretch your legs while keeping your knees straight.
- Stretch your spinal column, bringing in your stomach and expanding your chest, without arching your back.
- Your arms should be hanging loosely by your sides, pointing towards the ground.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Let each breath be deeper and more relaxed. As you inhale, be conscious of your pose. As you exhale, release the tension in your shoulders and drop them a little. Relax all your muscles, including your face and throat muscles.
- During this pose, imagine that an invisible string is coming out of your forehead and lightly stretching your body upwards. This will help you to maintain the correct position.
- Stay in this pose for 5 or 6 breaths to complete one set.
This is a simple and fast way to relax and return to a balanced state of mind, anywhere, any time. It only takes 2 minutes, and all you need is enough space to stand. Try it at the office, at home, at school, or anytime you feel your mind or your body are overwhelmed, and you’ll see the changes.
Standing Forward Bend, or Uttanasana
This pose helps to improve digestion, and it also has important benefits to reduce anxiety and fatigue. It helps to stretch the body and reduces tension caused by everyday activity in the spinal column and legs.
- Begin by standing in the Mountain Pose, or Tadasana (see above). This time, you can choose whether or not to keep your feet together; the further apart they are, the easier it will be to keep balance. Try not to spread your feet further apart than your hips.
- Inhale deeply, and as you exhale slowly bend forward, always keeping your back straightened and looking straight ahead. Lower your upper half until you reach a 90° angle.
- Inhale again, and this time when you exhale, try to lower yourself deeper into the position. Stretch your column forward and lower your head a little more until you can touch the ground with the palms of your hands.
- Once your hands are touching the ground, take 5 to 6 deep breaths, repeating step 3 each time to get your pose a little lower.
This is a great way to relax the body. Generally when we spend lots of time sitting, we can feel pain along our spinal column. With this practice, you can relax tension in that area and clear your mind of everyday stress. Although this pose requires more movement than Tadasana, it is still a pretty comfortable pose you can do almost anywhere or any time you feel the need. If you practice consistently, you will also note an improvement in your flexibility.
Tree Pose, or Vrksasana
This is a pose for balance, and here it’s important to know that you don’t need to have good balance to hold this pose. On the contrary, this pose will help you improve your balance through practice and by stimulating your capacity for concentration. It’s also a good exercise for improving flat feet.
- Like most other standing poses, Tree Pose starts in Tadasana. This time, fix your gaze on a point in front of you and try to keep your eye on that point throughout the exercise. Be conscious of your breathing to center your mind, and make sure all your movements are slow.
- Once your breathing is steady, raise your right foot and place it on your left thigh. You can use your hands to keep balance if necessary. If your foot isn’t flexible enough to reach your thigh, you can place it on your inner calf just below the knee. Avoid placing your foot on your knee to avoid injury.
- Put the palms of your hands together at chest height. Inhale, exhale, and when you feel ready raise your arms straight up above your head and place your palms together.
- Keep this pose for 2 or 3 slow breaths. When you exhale, return slowly to Tadasana and repeat the steps with your other foot.
Our brains often work in a forced way, thinking about a thousand things all at once. Sometimes this makes it impossible to focus on what is truly important. Tree Pose helps improve concentration and directs focus to more important things, all while balancing your body’s rhythm and physical functions.
Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana
Also known as Cat-Cow, this pose helps to relax, strengthen your back, and deepen your breathing, as well as improve column flexibility.
- Begin on your knees, sitting on your heels with your feet pointing backwards.
- Bend your torso forward and rest your hands on the ground so you are on “all fours”: your arms straight with your palms on the floor directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees on the floor directly beneath your hips, like a cat. Inhale deeply.
- As you exhale, arch your back upwards, lowering your head until your chin is as close to your chest as possible. Raise your belly button to create an arch with your back.
- As you inhale again, arch your back, this time downward in the shape of a swing. Move your chin away from your chest and raise your head to look up at the sky.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for about 5 to 6 repetitions, then rest.
This pose is a great way to reactivate the body and fill yourself with new energy. It helps you sync your breathing with your movements to keep on with your everyday tasks.
Child’s Pose, or Balasana
This pose helps you to relax the body, alleviate tired feet, and stretch the lumbar vertebrae, ideal to use after almost any exercise or routine that requires physical exertion.
- Begin on your knees, sitting on your heels with your feet pointing backwards. Inhale deeply with your back straight and looking straight ahead.
- As you exhale, lean your body forward (keeping your glutes on your heels) until your forehead is resting on the ground. Your arms should also rest on the ground, stretching in the direction of your feet.
- Relax your breathing, trying to be more an more aware of the air flowing in and out of your nose. Hold the position for as long as you need, then return to the original sitting position.
Practicing this pose, even just at the end of the day, can help you calm the body and mind, bringing you to a serene state where you can rest and have better sleep.
Whether part of your daily routine or during times of relaxation (like a vacation), being consistent with a discipline that helps you be conscious and aware of your body and mind improves any experience you’re going through, and helps you to better face any situation that comes your way. We advise you to adopt a simple routine that incorporates any of these exercises at key moments during your day, and try to keep it going. Little by little, you’ll realize the changes this will bring.
There are endless places offering services that help you to maintain these kinds of habits wherever you are. If you don’t have time to go to a class, you can use an app that gives tips and reminds you that it’s time to focus on yourself. If you’re at work, try to find a space where you can calmly take 2 minutes to practice any of the poses mentioned here. If you’re on vacation, choose a resort with programs that stimulate healthy practices, like Marival’s resort spas that include their own yoga classes 3 morning a week, guided by an instructor certified in 9 types of yoga, including beginner-friendly kinds like Hatha Yoga or Basic Meditation, and more advanced kinds like Kundalini Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, or Pose Meditation, all depending on the needs and level of our guests.
So now you know, whether you’re at home, at work or on vacation, you always have a way to stay healthy and balanced.