At home yoga poses
“Move your body into position and breathe…” As access to gyms and studios remains limited for the foreseeable future, online classes have become the new norm for yoga enthusiasts looking to get their fix from home. With that in mind LTA’s expert physiotherapist Anna Poyser has created a series of effective and easy-to-follow yoga exercises that you can practice from the comfort of your living room.
Anna recommends practising these eight yoga poses which can be used to increase your mental wellbeing as well as your flexibility, which is important for avoiding injury. All you need is a yoga mat to get going!
Pose 1: Child’s Pose
This calming pose is a good default pause position. You can use child’s pose to rest and refocus before continuing to your next pose. It gently stretches your lower back, hips, thighs, knees and ankles and relaxes your spine, shoulders and neck.
Start by kneeling on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the fronts of your shoulders toward the floor. Stay in the pose from 1 to 3 minutes.
Pose 2: Seated twist
This twisting pose can increase the flexibility in your back, while stretching the shoulders, hips and chest. It can also help relieve tension in the middle of your back.
Begin the exercise by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, buttocks supported on a folded blanket. Bend your knees, put your feet on the floor, then slide your right foot under your left leg to the outside of your left hip. Lay the outside of the right leg on the floor. Step the left foot over the right leg and stand it on the floor outside your right hip. The left knee will point directly up at the ceiling.
Exhale and twist toward the inside of the left thigh. Press the left hand against the floor just behind your left buttock and set your right upper arm on the outside of your left thigh near the knee. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh snugly together. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position
Pose 3: Warrior 1
Stand in Mountain Pose. With an exhale, step or lightly jump your right foot forward so that your feet are 3 ½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor (and parallel to each other), and reach actively through the little-finger sides of the hands toward the ceiling, whilst turn your right foot in 45 to 60 degrees and your left foot out 90 degrees.
With your left heel firmly anchored to the floor, exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pose 4: Warrior II
Stand in Mountain Pose. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your left foot forward so your feet 3 ½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle.
Pose 5: Cobra
This back-bending pose can help strengthen the back muscles, increase spinal flexibility and stretches the chest, shoulders and abdomens.
Lie prone on the floor. Stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body. On an inhalation, begin to straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your pubis to your legs.
Post 6: Side angle pose
Stand in Mountain pose. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your left foot forward so your are feet 3½ to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your right foot in 45 to 60 degrees to the left and your right foot out to the left 90 degrees.
With an exhalation, turn your torso to the left, and square your hip points as much as possible. With another exhalation, turn your torso further to the left and lean forward over the front leg. Reach your right hand down, either to the floor (inside or outside the foot) or, if the floor is too far away, onto a block positioned against your inner right foot. Allow the right hip to drop slightly toward the floor. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pose 7: Revolved side angle pose
Stand in mountain pose. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your right foot forward so your feet 3½ to 4 feet apart. Rest your hands on your hips. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and turn your left foot in slightly to the right.
Exhale and turn your torso to the right until you’re facing directly out over the right leg; as you do this, lift your left heel off the floor and spin on the ball of the foot until the inner left foot is parallel to the inner right foot. Then exhale again and bend your right knee.
With another exhale turn further to the right and lean the torso down, placing the left hand on the floor inside the right foot. Dig your right thumb into the right hip crease and push the thighbone down toward the floor. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pose 8: Pigeon
From all fours, bring your right knee forward towards your right wrist. Depending on your body it may be just behind your wrist or to the outer or the inner edge of it. Slide your left leg back and point your toes, your heel is pointing up to the ceiling. Scissor your hips together, by drawing your legs in towards each other. Use some support under your right buttock if needed, to keep your hips level.
As you inhale, come onto your fingertips, lengthen your spine, draw your navel in and open your chest. As you exhale, walk your hands forward and lower your upper body towards the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat. Stay for 5 breaths or longer. On each exhalation, try to release the tension in your right hip.