Those of us who practice yoga know the benefits it can bring for our bodies and our minds – benefits that are especially important during tough times like these. To keep up with your yoga practice at home, you don’t need any fancy equipment, a lot of space, or even an instructor. Try these simple techniques that can help you stay calm and healthy during these challenging times.
Breathe in, breathe out!
If you do nothing else, focus on your breath. Breath work helps us manage our emotions, whether we are anxious, scared, or sad. You can do this on your mat or seated anywhere that’s comfortable. Close your eyes and start by observing your breath. Notice if the breath is shallow, or if your inhale is deeper than your exhale. Simply observe without any judgments.
When you feel ready, start to deepen your breaths in and out through the nose. At a steady pace, slowly count up to 4 as you breathe in (you might say to yourself “inhale 1, 2, 3, 4”), and then count backwards from 4 back down to 1 as you breathe out (you might think “exhale 4, 3, 2, 1”). Continue for a few rounds with a 4-count inhale and 4-count exhale.
As you feel comfortable, start to increase the breath count to 5, 6, 7, or even 8 counts. The key is to keep the inhale even with the exhale. Continue your counted breaths for a few minutes; when finished allow your breath to return to normal, and observe any changes in how you feel.
Traditional Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Next, we take breath work into our physical practice with a classic posture known as Child’s Pose. Keeping the knees together in this variation allows the front of the body to be fully supported so that the breath can expand into the back body where our kidneys are located. Breathing into this area soothes the adrenals to reduce stress and potentially strengthen the immune system – one of the many benefits of this pose. As you fold forward, allow your forehead to come to the floor or a book or pillow (whatever you have handy), letting your arms relax and soften at your sides. Stay and breathe for three to five minutes, or as long as you are comfortable.
Find your yoga community with the 14Y
The 14Y is offering a variety of live-streaming yoga classes suitable for yoga practitioners of all levels, from strength-building Iyengar Yoga classes to low-impact Chair Yoga. If you’re looking for some more relaxing and rejuvenating yoga classes – or other group workouts led by our fantastic instructors – stop by the 14Y’s Virtual Fitness page for class times, trainer Q&A’s, and more!