Embrace your inner self with Yoga

When did that short walk to the gym get so tiring?

When the blissful Summer evenings turned into horrid Winter nights, that’s when!

All you want to do is stay at home in bed watching Disney films and I honestly feel your pain. But we can’t let all that hard work go to waste that we’ve slaved the entire summer for.  So why not revitalise your inner-self with some yoga positions (yes you can do them indoors) to focus your mind and body while guaranteeing you perfect pins and amazing abs!

Yoga – the exercise that all celebrities claim to have a hold on, a sophisticated mind and body exercise that strengthens your body as well as toning those all important areas. With the first half an hour of your day being the most effective time to boost your mood and metabolism, exercising in these crucial 30 minutes proves a lot easier than lugging yourself out of bed and off to the depths of the gym.

The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abs while preparing you for the day ahead.

The Tree

yoga-tree-pose

Starting with the tree position will encourage your body to maintain its balance for the rest of your yoga workout.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and while inhaling, gently place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Lower the right foot to make it easier for you to begin with.
2. Stare at a spot to carry your focus and bring your arms to a 12 o clock position above your head.
3. Hold this position for roughly 30 seconds or as long as you feel is possible.
4. Exhale, lower your hands and place your foot back to standing position. 5. Repeat these steps with the other leg.

Photo taken from: http://naturallynourishedwoman.com/yoga-101/

The Warrior

warrior position

While stretching the chest, shoulders, groin and opening out the lungs, this position is also great for toning the inner thigh and strengthening your abdominals.

  1. Steadily place your feet wide apart and turn your right foot to the right, leaving your left foot facing the front.
  2. Gradually lunge into your right leg, stopping when you feel you can go no lower.
  3. Place both arms above your head in a 12 o clock position and hold while pulling your belly in.

Top tip – If placing your arms at this angle is too much, spread them out across your body so they are in line with your shoulders.

Hold for 20 seconds and then switch to the other side so you have two beautiful lean legs. Don’t panic if one side is much more able than the other as we all have one side which is much more capable

Downward Dog

 downward dog

Used for many covers of fitness magazines, this pose is used to strengthen the bladder channel, meaning the part of the body that defends us against colds and other germs and therefore crucial to achieving optimum health.

  1. Place your feet shoulder width apart and gradually lower your hands to the floor.
  2. Inhale and step both feet back to a comfortable position with your heels raised slightly off the ground. Make sure your hands are way in front of your feet, placed flat against the floor.
  3. Exhale while straightening your legs as far as you can while aiming your heels to the floor nice and slowly.
  4. Keep the head in line with your neck, trying not to let it hang down. 5. Maintain this position for 30 seconds and then release.

If you feel you could go one step further, try extreme Downward Dog…

downward dog extended

Hold the position with your hands in front and your feet aiming to touch the ground. Gradually lift one leg in the air and straighten it as far as you can, pointing the toe. Hold for 30 seconds (if you’re lucky), squeezing every muscle you have, repeat with the other leg and you’ll achieve that perfectly peachy bum in no time.

Photos taken from: http://sunina.com/downwarddogsplit/

The Cobra

cobra yoga pose

The cobra will end up as your favourite stretch to do when you get out of bed in the morning. Stretching those abs and glutes right through to the neck and chin and tips of your toes, it enhances your mood to leave you feeling fresh and more importantly awake.

  1. Lay on your front with your toes pointed and your arms above your head.
  2. Slowly lift the top part of your body, stretching away with your hands placed firmly on the ground, leaving the pelvis resting on the floor.
  3. Lift as far as you can to achieve the ultimate stretch and hold for 30 seconds.

If you feel like you want to try something harder, move onto the next step.

cobra hold

  1. Release the cobra position to the floor and take your arms behind your back.
  2. Grab hold of your feet with each hand and slowly pull them towards your head.
  3. Eventually and very gradually, try to lift your thighs off the ground, increasing the stretch further, leaving only your pelvis and lower abs touching. Hold for as long as you can manage to strengthen your abs, bum, thighs, feet, toes and neck.

Photo taken from: http://inclined.americanalpineclub.org and http://www.yogadestin.com

Yoga has proven very beneficial for me in the past and can probably sort out any problem you have with your inner and outer body. Hopefully, these particular poses will leave you readers feeling refreshed and revitalised without the sweaty stink of the gym and its companions!

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