[Workout Plans] Relax And De-Stress Anywhere With The Lean It UP In-Home Yoga Workout
Here at Lean It UP, we love variety. While you typically might find workouts for the weight room or HIIT cardio at the track, we also value the benefits of other exercise forms like yoga (see #8), Barre, and Pilates. These low-impact, versatile workouts are great because most of them can be done wherever, whenever, with little-to-no equipment. Plus, they can give your muscles a break and act as active recovery if you’re constantly focused on resistance training.
In that spirit, we’ve put together the Lean It UP In-Home Yoga Workout — a basic, fundamental yoga routine that’s perfect for a variety of fitness levels. If you’ve got a quick 20 minutes to spare, whether that’s first thing in the AM or after a long day at work, this is the workout for you.
If you haven’t read about the benefits of yoga, or have never practiced, then you’re totally missing out! I’ll admit that I personally started practicing because I wanted an exercise that would lengthen my muscles and give me a leaner look. But after doing yoga for the last few years, I realized that it’s the mental and emotional benefits that keep you practicing. Yoga doesn’t just improve flexibility or soothe aching muscles. It can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and put you in a better mood.
Whether you’re a first-time beginner or a veteran yogi, this workout is the perfect way to add a little bit more yoga into your life. And as with any of our routines, listen to your body. If your body is saying not to do something, then simply don’t do it. Yoga isn’t about achieving a super complicated, advanced pose. It’s about learning to release, and letting go of stress and unwanted tension. Keep that in mind as you’re moving through the series of poses.
The Lean It UP In-Home Yoga Workout
For the entire workout I highly recommend using a yoga mat. If you don’t have one, a beach towel will also work. If you’re unfamiliar with the moves included, click each pose name for a video demo.
1. Deep Meditation
Image: SriMa Yoga
Duration — 3-5 minutes; 8-12 breaths
Start by sitting in a position that is comfortable, usually cross-legged. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and start taking deep, slow inhalations and exhalations. Try to quiet your mind. Forget about that term paper that’s due this week or the dry cleaning you need to pick up. For the next 20 minutes, all that matters is here and now.
Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of six. Hold the breath for a count of two. Slowly exhale for a count of eight. 6-2-8. Repeat this cyclical pattern of breathing for 8-12 breaths. If you feel winded or light headed, switch back to normal paced and controlled breathing.
Duration — 1-2 minutes; 8-10 breaths
From your seated mediation, move to all fours. Your shoulders should be over your hands, your feet should be hip-width apart, and your spin should be neutral.
As you exhale, slowly curl your spine from the top of the neck to the tailbone. Your back should have a C curve to it. Contract your abs and really let your upper back stretch out. This is your cat pose, or Marjaryasana.
As you inhale, slowly curl your spin back to neutral, and then go a little further so that your spine is arched. You should have a reverse C curve now. This is your cow pose, or Bitilasana.
With slow and controlled breathing, continue the cat/cow sequence for 8-10 breaths. Don’t worry about how long it takes you. Just focus on your breath and take the time to listen to your body and what it needs. Maybe your spine is really stiff from sitting at an office desk all day. Maybe you’re super flexible! Remember in yoga, there are no winners — there are only those who practice.
Image: Daily Perricone
Duration — 1-2 minutes; 3-4 breaths
From your table pose, tuck your toes under so that the bottom of your feet and the palms of your hands are both on the ground. Push your butt into the air. You should feel this stretch in your hamstrings and your shoulders.
Keep the eye of your elbow towards the ceiling. Your gaze should be between your feet. To stretch your neck, feel free to nod your head up and down or gently move it from side to side. Relax and breathe deeply during this pose, focusing on the exhalation. Hold this posture for 3-4 breaths.
Image: Daily Perricone
Duration — 1-2 minutes; 3-4 breaths
From your downward dog pose, walk, step, or even hop your feet in so that they are below your hands. Remain in this forward fold for several breaths to release tension in the spine and hamstrings.
If you want to focus more on your spine, gently bend your knees. If you want more focus on the hamstrings, keep your knees straight. Remember, you don’t need to touch the floor. Letting your hands rest on your ankles or shins is totally fine! Stay in this posture for another 3-4 breaths.
Images: Run.com, Life Outside of Law, Aboutyoga.com
Duration — 5 minutes; 2-4 breaths per pose
Slowly unroll upward, vertebrae by vertebrae, until you are standing at the top of the yoga mat. Your feet should be hip distance apart, back straight, and your palms open and facing forward.
Step backwards with your left leg into a lunge position. Release the heel, twist it to the side, and let your foot rest flat at a 45 degree angle. Raise your arms above your head so that they’re parallel to one another. Your hips should still be facing forward and be square. This is your Warrior I pose. Hold it for 2-4 breaths.
From your Warrior I pose, rotate your weight to the left and let your arms fall to the side of your body. Although the position of your feet does not change, your hips should now face the left. Your front (right leg) should be bent while your back (left leg) is straight. This is your Warrior II pose. Hold it for another 2-4 breaths.
Transition into your side angle posture by dropping your right hand to the inside of your right foot. Let your torso follow so that your left hand is now up in the air facing the sky. If this is too difficult for you, feel free to rest your right forearm on your right thigh and tilt your torso from this angle instead. Hold this posture for 2-4 breaths.
Repeat this sequence on the opposing side. This means that you’ll step back with your right leg, and complete the side angle with your left hand reaching for the ground.
6. Pigeon Pose
Duration — 5 minutes; 6-8 breaths per side
From your right side angle, slowly move back into Warrior I. From Warrior I, transition into downward facing dog (see posture 3). From downward dog, raise your right leg to the sky, then sway it forward as the rest of your body moves forward as well. Think of it as a one-legged plank. Cross your leg underneath your body so that your lower leg is parallel to your hips. Your right heel should underneath your left wrist and your right knee should be under your right wrist. Let your back left knee drop down gracefully.
Slowly release your upper body and let it fall on top of your leg, eventually reaching the floor. You should feel this stretch in your right hip. If that’s too deep, stay in the original pigeon pose. If you can manage to fold yourself over, try to hold this posture for 6-8 breaths.
Transition from pigeon pose back into downward dog. Hold for 3-4 breaths. Repeat pigeon pose for on the opposite side. Repeat downward facing dog as well.
Photo Courtesy: Yoga Healthy Retreats
Duration — 3 minutes; 6-8 breaths
From downward facing dog, step your feet in until you’re in Forward Fold again. Gently sit down and then slowly lie down on your back. Place the soles of your feet together and let your knees fan out to the sides. Enjoy the stretch in your inner thighs and the release of pressure on your sacrum. Hold this posture for 6-8 breaths.
8. Corpse Pose/ Final Resting Pose
Photo Courtesy: Love My Yoga
Duration — 4 minutes
Extend your legs forward so that you’re lying down in a completely comfortable position. Close your eyes and relax. Use this pose as a deep restoration to meditate on your practice and feel for any sensations in your body.
Maybe that pain in your neck from earlier in the day feels better. Maybe your hips feel more relaxed and open. In other words, enjoy this final corpse pose!
With this simple yoga workout, you can build strength and flexibility while easing tension and stress in your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Remember, you don’t need to go hard day after day in the gym.
Sometimes busy schedules, business trips, and other unexpected reasons can keep you from working out. Even if it’s just 20 minutes of gentle yoga before bed, that’s still a fitness success.
is the founder of We're Talking About Food
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