A big thank you to Bethany for her guest post on Yoga Flavored Life this week!
When it comes to meeting any goal, the most important part is overcoming initial resistance and just taking that first step. This applies in beginning your yoga routine as well. Many assume that in order to reap any benefits from a yoga practice, that they have to clock in an hour, or else why bother? This is absolutely not true, and will more often than not discourage people from keeping up with a routine. Even 10 minutes will improve flexibility, diminish back pain, and help to lower high blood pressure. Here is how you can get the most out of just 10 minutes of yoga.
Getting set up quickly requires the right yoga gear, so keep your mat, towel, water bottle together and on hand. Make sure you have plenty of space so that you don’t have to make frequent adjustments so you’re not bumping into furniture or other obstacles. A 10-minute yoga routine should run smoothly with little disruptions.
To get the most out of 10 minutes, you’ll want to incorporate versatile positions that focus on your core (for posture), allow you to get a good stretch (for flexibility), and some toning moves as well (for muscle strength). Here are some yoga poses that incorporate at least one or more of those benefits.
Mountain Pose-Chair Pose Flow
Benefits: Tones and stretches core, thighs, calves while lengthening torso and arms
Instructions: Inhale and sweep arms up to sky, biceps alongside your ears. On an exhalation, sweep arms down and behind body, while bending your knees and lowering hips. Then, inhale while reaching arms overhead, keeping biceps by ears with pinkies turned in toward each other, arriving in chair pose On an exhalation, return to start.
Benefits: Stretches the back torso and neck and gently massages the spine to improve posture
Cat Cow is great for focusing your mind and breathing due to the repetitive and relaxing motion of this move.
Instructions: Begin on your hands and knees in “tabletop” position. Check that your knees are directly below your hips and your elbows and shoulders are directly above your wrists and in line and perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral/relaxed position.
As you exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your shoulders and knees in position. Release your head toward the floor, but don’t press your chin into your chest.
On the Inhale, raise your neck and head up while arching your back, let your belly loosen and relax.
Balancing Stick Pose
Benefits: Helps tone the entire body, including buttocks and upper thighs. Improves flexibility and control over muscles for balance.
Instructions: On an inhale, and raise your arms to the sky, then connect your hands with your index fingers pointing up to the sky. Keep your arms close to your ears and your chin should be up with your back straight. Step forward with your right foot, then slowly transfer all your weight onto your right foot as you lift your left foot off the floor, keeping your spine straight. Continue to raise your left leg straight into the air behind you as you bend forward to form a “T” with your outstretched arms and left straight leg.
To get the most out of balancing stick post, keep your abdominals tight and really stretch your arms forward for a deep spine stretch. Make sure you breathe well during this pose, as it does work the cardiovascular system and you want to make sure you’re supplying enough oxygen to your lungs.
Whether you’re just starting out or needing something quick to do during lunch breaks, these positions will get you started on your 10-minute routine. Try finding a YouTube channel that features 10-min yoga to get started. You can do research on your own favorite pose and add it to your practice too. If you can manage 10 minutes of yoga a day, it won’t be long before you’re noticing a difference in your flexibility and posture.
Image courtesy of Ali Edwards
Bethany Cleg is a small business owner at Bethany Cleg Photography. She is an avid writer, photographer, and tech geek. When she’s not writing or taking pictures, you’ll find her hiking with her family.