Yoga has many benefits — a sculpted core, a lean body, improved posture — but one of its most beneficial is that it instantly reduces stress. Because yoga requires such focus, the practice forces the mind to relax and forget any worries weighing it down. However, not all of us have time to hit the yoga studio every day for a full session. So we reached out to Pure Yoga lead teacher Kay Kay Clivio for simple movements we can turn to when we only have a minute to stop, pose and breathe.
1. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Sit with the soles of your feet together and heels in close to your pelvis. Hold your feet and lift your spine as long as possible from your tailbone to top of head. Gently, with slow deep breaths, begin to ease your body forward to your range of motion. Hold for 10 slow breaths.
2. Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)
From baddha konasana, extend your right leg out straight and bring the sole of your left foot to the inside of your right thigh. Reach your arms over your head, square your body off to the extended leg and reach forward for your foot with both hands. If you cannot reach, don’t force it — simply hold your shin. Keep your shoulders in one line, relax your head and breathe slowly for 8 breaths. Repeat on your left side.
3. Supine Spine Twist
Laying down on your back, bend your right knee in toward your right shoulder and interlace all 10 of your fingers together on the shin. Give a gentle pull on the leg toward the right shoulder. Take your left hand to your right knee, gently guiding your right knee to the left. Extend your right arm out like a cross and do your best to keep your right shoulder down as you twist the right leg to the left. Turn your head gently toward your right hand and take 8 slow, deep breaths. Repeat on your left side.
Tip: “The key to all yoga poses is to breathe a long and mindful breath,” says Clivio. “Try counting to 5 or 6 on the inhale and exhale to keep the breath even. Balanced breath will help balance the mind.”
*Have time for a yoga class? October is National Yoga Month, which means Pure Yoga is offering a selection of free classes!
Read more: Which Type of Yoga is Best for You?