By Natalie Zimmerman, Certified Yoga Instructor
Many people love yoga but don’t practice because they can’t carve out time for a daily yoga class. Yet one of the wonderful things about yoga is that you don’t need much time, other people or elaborate equipment to make it part of your day.
one of the wonderful things about yoga is that you don’t need much time, other people or elaborate equipment to make it part of your day.
Here’s a tutorial to show you how easy it is to create a daily practice from some of the basic building block poses you know from yoga class. You can practice 3-5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A, or sun salutation A in 10 minutes. This asana works the whole body and heats the muscles and the joints. This can be done right when you wake up or throughout the day as you find time.
- BEGIN BY TAKING A DEEP BREATH IN AND A SLOW RELEASE OUT OF YOUR NOSE. In yoga you always breathe in and out of your nose and this part of the practice is called ujjayi breathing.
- COME TO THE FRONT OF YOUR MAT. Root down through all four points of your feet and lift all four sides of your torso. Take a deep breath in through your nose and lift your arms over your head. Wrap your outer arms in while you reach tall toward the ceiling. Draw the shoulders away from the neck.
- EXHALE OUT OF THE NOSE AND SWEEP YOUR ARMS DOWN YOUR SIDES AND BEND FORWARD OVER YOUR LEGS TO A STANDING FORWARD BEND. Reach your arms down toward the ground in front of your toes. Extend the front of the body, while you round the back of your back and allow the head to hang freely. Release the tension in the neck. Engage the inner thigh muscles, and press the thighs back, stretching the hamstrings.
- INHALE, PLACE YOUR HANDS TO YOUR SHINS AND COME HALF WAY UP WITH A LONG SPINE. Lengthen the sternum away from the navel.
- YOU WILL THEN COME INTO PLANK POSE BY PLACING ONE HAND DOWN FLAT TO THE GROUND, THEN THE OTHER. Step your feet straight back coming to plank pose, lining up your wrists underneath your shoulders with the hands shoulder width apart and your feet hip width apart. Lift up through the thighs and press back through the heels.
- EXHALE,COME FORWARD A LITTLE , KEEPING YOUR LOW BELLY UP AND YOUR NECK LONG. The forearms are perpendicular to the floor and your hands are alongside the ribs. Reach your chest forward as you lower all the way down to the ground coming in to a low cobra pose.
- HUG YOUR ELBOWS IN TOWARD YOUR RIBS AND PRESS THE TOP OF YOUR FEET DOWN, PRESSING ALL TEN TOES DOWN ON THE MAT, EVEN THE BABY TOES. Continue to press evenly through your hands and widen your fingers. Bring your chest through your arms, as if someone was pulling you from your sternum. Curl your toes, press up to plank pose and exhale back into downward facing dog pose (pictured below). Make sure your wrists are parallel to the front of the mat and your feet are hip distance apart. Hold it here for five deep slow breaths in and out of the nose. Press down through the hands and engage the triceps. Keep the ears in line with the arms. Spread wide across the collarbones. Continue to breathe, long even breaths. Draw the pelvis back away from the shoulders and reach the heels down. They don’t need to touch the ground, but that is the direction you are working toward.
On the last exhale, step your feet up in between your hands and inhale, placing the hands to the shins, lengthening your spine forward. Length all four sides of the neck. Exhale, fold down and let your head hang. Coming up with a long spine, inhale, sweep your arms along the sides and reach your arms up overhead. Place your hands together as you look up. Exhale and bring your hands down by your sides. Then press your palms together and bring them to your chest. Take a slow even breathe in and out of your nose.
Before heading to yoga I spray (MURAD) Hydrating Toner on my face. It has a refreshing spa-like smell, which instantly puts me into a relaxed state of mind and ready for class.
Before heading to yoga I spray Hydrating Toner on my face. It has a refreshing spa-like smell, which instantly puts me into a relaxed state of mind and ready for class. I also apply Renewing Eye Cream to refresh the eyes and keep me alert on my mat. After class I wash my face with Daily Cleansing Foam and apply my favorite treatment product, moisturizer and eye cream again. Right now I’m loving Advanced Active Radiance Serum and Perfecting Day Cream, followed with Essential-C Eye Cream. If I take a class in the evening the products in my regimen change a bit, but it always consists of cleansing, toning, treating and moisturizing.
Natalie Zimmerman is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher trained by YogaWorks and has been practicing yoga for over ten years. She is the co-founder of Creativity Flow Yoga, where she teaches students how to open up their creativity through yoga infused with journaling, meditation and essential oils.