Yoga is incredible. It helps fight symptoms of depression and stress from overworking. This ancient practice might help you stay well during staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Yoga has been shown to have many therapeutic effects from physical to spiritual pain relief. Doing a few minutes of yoga in the middle of your day might even become a permanent routine after it all among other healthy habits.
Staying at home juggling video calls, kids or anything else can be stressful. Here’s a 7-minute yoga routine from Rachel Sherman, a certified yoga instructor in New York City that has been leading small sessions over breaks on Zoom calls during COVID-19. She has routines for every moment at home.
For when you’re feeling sluggish or disconnected from your body: Breath of Joy
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width apart
Root into all four corners of the feet and find a long spine
Inhale through the nose, take arms up overhead
Exhale through the nose, take arms down by your side
Repeat once, then inhale through the nose and take arms up but on the exhale, bend the knees slightly and fold forward over legs, exhaling through the mouth to create a “HA” sound
Keep repeating the three-step motion, increasing the pace, and lifting the arms up and down more rapidly
After about a minute, take a round at a slow pace
Stand upright and place one hand on the belly, one hand on the heart
Close the eyes
Notice if anything has shifted, feel your heart rate start to slow, find stillness and feel connected to your physical body
For low back pain from sitting all-day
Take a few rounds of cat and cow
Come to hands and knees, hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips
Find a neutral spine and press the tops of the feet into your mat
Inhale as you drop the belly, heart and chin lift (cow)
Exhale as you round the back, dome the belly and pull the navel into the spine
Repeat at your own pace, try to be conscientious of your shoulders, don’t rest into the sockets, firmly press the mat away
After at least six rounds, find a neutral spine and walk the hands out in front of you for puppy dog pose
The knees stay under the hips at a 90-degree angle, only your palms walk forward, elbows extended, drop the head
It should look like a dog stretching!
Breathe here, taking a few moments to let the pose activate the space between your shoulder blades
When you’re ready, sit back on your heels, take the knees out wide, toes touch, and fold forward for a wide-leg child’s pose
Take a few breaths here, with each inhale reach forward, with each exhale sink a little deeper back onto the hips
Finally, come to hands and knees and roll yourself up to stand, unraveling vertebrae by vertebrae
Shrug the shoulders when you come to stand, inhale shoulders up to ears, exhale roll them down the back, repeat twice
Take feet directly below your hips and inhale arms up over head
Exhale as you bend at the knees and fold forward over your legs
Keep your knees bent as you grab opposite elbows and find a slight sway motion
Nod your head yes and shake your head no to release the neck
Gently release the arms and roll yourself up to stand
Take a deep inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth
Hands on body: one hand to heart, one to belly, close the eyes
For when you just need to move
If I want a little core activation I’ll do a few rounds of down dog to plank. It doesn’t require much space and even a few rounds help me feel more in my body and out of my head.
From hands and knees, press both palms into the mat, spread the fingers wide
Lift the knees and lift the hips as you press your chest back toward the tops of the thighs
Keep a slight bend in the knees
Reach the heels toward the mat (the benefit of the pose is the reaching action, not actually from having your feet flat so don’t sweat it if they don’t connect with the floor!)
With every exhale press the torso toward the quadriceps
To come into plank, inhale as you lower the hips and shift your body forward over the wrists
Draw the navel into the spine to fire up the core
Puff up the space between the shoulder blades so you’re not resting into your joints
Exhale as you zip up the inner thighs and engage the core
Inhale, back to downward facing dog
Repeat a few times until you find a rhythm that works with your breath
The motion can be quite meditative. It’s a simple but effective tool for total body engagement
If you want to take it into a sun salutation, from plank, draw the elbows in and exhale your whole body slowly, with control, down to the floor
With hands directly below shoulders, inhale to lift the heart without pressing the floor away for cobra
Exhale to press up to plank and then back to down dog, or come to hands and knees
Inhale, tip toe the feet to the top of the mat, exhale forward fold, inhale the arms up over head to touch, exhale fold over the body, inhale bring the palms to shins as you find a flat back, exhale forward fold and step back to plank, lower the body, cobra, back to downward facing dog
All of these poses can be done without props and in confined spaces! If you don’t have a yoga mat a towel or even a carpet or rug will do! No matter what sequence, stretches or breathwork you choose to do, the most important part is the final resting pose to feel the benefits of the work you did. Take a moment to lie on your back, arms by your side, let the feet flop open and close your eyes. When you’re ready, come to a seated position with eyes closed and take the hands together at the heart. I like to take a moment for reflection here and offer gratitude for my body.
Take a few minutes in your day for a mind-body connection.
You’ll feel calmer, clearer and healthier for it.