You don't have to be an advanced yoga practitioner to learn how to begin a yoga practice at home. This basic routine combines a four-part sequence and a few basic poses to give you an allover stretch that's quick, easy, and effective.
Sun salutation is a popular yoga sequence because it stretches the entire body, but it can be intimidating for beginners. This ocean salutation is a simpler version that uses a wave-like motion and combines cat-cow, up dog, and child's pose.
- Begin in modified child's pose, with legs folded on your mat and arms reaching out in front of you. Think of this pose as home base for this yoga sequence.
- Inhale and use your breath to curve your spine up like a Halloween cat.
- Exhale and move your hands a little farther away from your body, as you slowly lower your hips to your mat and come into up-dog.
- Inhale to the full pose, curving your face and chest up.
- Exhale and push back to the original modified child’s pose.
- If your knees hurt, roll the mat slightly under your knees for a little extra padding.
- Move through the cycle a few times.
- When you feel comfortable, repeat the cycle twice more with your eyes closed.
- When you've finished, rest for a few breaths in child's pose.
Now use the warmth in your body for a few basic stretches, starting with forward fold.
- Sit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you.
- Inhale to lengthen your spine.
- Exhale as you reach your chest toward your toes.
- Breathe fully and pull your shoulders back away from your ears. Keep your spine straight and tall.
- If you're ready for a more advanced stretch, let your chest melt into your legs and interlace your fingers around your feet.
- Once you reach a location where you feel challenged but not uncomfortable, hold for three breaths.
- Inhale to sit up with a long, straight spine.
After forward fold, plank and table make good counter-stretches. Start with a reverse plank.
- From a sitting position, lay your palms on the mat behind your back, with fingers wide and pointing toward the hips.
- Open your shoulders and peel your shoulder blades back.
- Open your throat and point your toes, finding energy in your legs.
- Press your hands and feet into the floor to rise to an inclined plane.
- If the reverse plank is too intense, walk your feet under your knees to come into table pose.
- Inhale and press the ground away with your hands and feet.
- For an advanced option, lift one leg off the ground. Explore movement such as lifts or circles.
- Let your table lean by bending your knees forward and lowering the sacrum (bone above the tailbone) toward your heels.
- Lower down to your forearms, open your chest and tilt your head back.
- Exhale and slowly let your back release down to the mat.
From there, move into bridge pose.
- Press your feet into the floor and inhale to rise.
- Pulse to add dynamic motion, if desired.
- Come into the full expression of the pose, or a supported version if that's more comfortable.
- Stay for three breaths.
- Slowly lower yourself with a count of ten. Your core should be engaged and working to bring you back down to the mat.
- Shift your knees from side to side for a gentle spinal twist.
- Take your gaze in the opposite direction of your knees.
- Roll back onto your back. Lower your legs and rest in savasana for at least two or three minutes.
- Feel your breath reach all the corners of your body.
Start your day with a yoga warm-up to feel stretched and energized. A few basic poses and one simple sequence are all you need to start your yoga journey at home.