As life during the coronavirus outbreak changes, and work, school and gym all move home, yoga can be a great way to keep your mind and body working, reduce anxiety and boost your immune system.
This gentle yoga practice will move your spine in all directions. You could practice the whole sequence or just pick one or two movements.
Move slowly and aim to breathe through your nose.
Do as much as feels natural and comfortable for you and check with your GP if you have any concerns before you start.
Movement 1: Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor
- Put your hands on your abdomen with your elbows resting on the ground
- You might need a cushion under your head
- Imagine all the places resting on the floor - like your feet, hips, shoulders and head - getting heavier
- Notice anywhere that’s tense and imagine those places softening
Movement 2: Knee to chest
- Bring your right knee in to your chest and support it behind your thigh
- Keep everything else relaxed and take a few breaths before slowly swapping sides
Movement 3: Arm stretch
- Lift both arms up so your fingers point up to the ceiling
- Keep your ribs in contact with the ground - you may need to relax your elbows and take your arms a bit wider to do that
- Take your arms overhead or out to the sides and let them rest on the floor
- Slowly bring both arms back down to rest on the floor at your sides
Movement 4: Twist
- As you exhale, slowly let both knees sink down to one side making a twist in the spine
- Stay in a comfortable position for a couple of breaths before slowly drawing them back to the centre and sinking your legs in the other direction
Movement 5: Bridge
- Push down into your feet (keep your face relaxed!) and lift your hips
- It’s fine if they only lift a tiny bit
- Slowly sink your hips down and check that you relax completely when you’re resting on the ground again
Movement 6: Flowing Cat
- Roll over to one side and push yourself up onto all fours
- You might need some padding under your knees or your ankles
- Keep your back strong but relax your tummy
- As you exhale rock your bottom back in the direction of your heels
- As you inhale come back to where you started
Movement 7: Stand like a mountain
- Stand up tall with parallel feet hip-width apart
- Relax your shoulders and feel a natural curve in your lower back
- Unlock your knees and sink into your heels
- Follow your breathing
Movement 8: Arm circles
- Bend your knees and circle each arm slowly forwards and then backwards
- Circle both arms at the same time in the OPPOSITE direction
- Keep breathing!
Movement 9: Two foot balance
- Lift your heels and balance on the balls of your feet for a few breaths
Movement 10: One foot balance
- Keep your arms by your side and lift one foot
- Relax your shoulders and keep breathing
Movement 11: Side stretch
- Take your feet wider
- Slowly lift one arm up to the ceiling and stretch taller on one side
- Repeat on the other side
Movement 12: Hip circle
- Bring your feet closer and circle your hips slowly one way, then back again
- Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair
- Sit up tall and be careful not to tuck your tailbone underneath
- If you have a chair have both feet touching the ground directly under your knees
- Relax your shoulders and rest your hands on your knees or thighs
- You might close your eyes
- Follow your breathing
- Relax your lips until there’s a tiny space between them
- Breathe in through your nose and then softly exhale through your lips
- Your exhale being comfortably longer than your inhale signals your body to relax
- Lie down on your back with whatever padding you need to be comfortable
- Put your hands on your abdomen
- Follow your breathing as you focus on the weight of your hands
When you’re ready to move, take it slowly. Roll onto one side for a moment first before getting up.
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Written by: Jayne Hill
As well as working in the communications team at CABA, Jayne teaches practical yoga and for over 15 years her gentle approach to yoga has encouraged people lead more peaceful and healthier lives. She gained her diploma after 500 hours study with the British Wheel of Yoga. Jayne specialises in therapeutic yoga postures, breathing practices and deep relaxation techniques. She’s a teacher for the yoga for healthy lower backs programme and a Level 3 member of the Register of Exercise Professionals.