We’re not the only ones who’ve found themselves in a deep Instagram dive, stalking every model in awe and, if we’re being honest, envy, at their ability to do yoga so effortlessly. For us, getting out of bed on most days seems harder than moving a mountain would be. But these simple yoga moves have made our inner yogi shine. They’re guaranteed to instantly energize you, make your skin glow and relax your muscles. Bookmark this one for the days when you have too much on your plate and it’s stressing you out more than it needs to.
1. Triangle Pose
How: Extend your arms out to the sides, and then bend over your right leg. Stand with your feet three feet apart, toes on your right foot turned out to 90 degrees, left foot to 45 degrees. Allow your right hand to touch the floor or rest it on your right leg. Extend the fingertips of your left hand towards the ceiling. Turn your gaze towards the ceiling and hold for five breaths. Stand and repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits: Stretches the entire body; strengthens thighs, knees and ankles; relieves backache. Suitable for pregnant women too.
2. Downward Dog
How: Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, and knees under hips. Walk your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide, pressing your palms into the mat. Bring your body into an inverted V, pressing your shoulders away from your ears. Feet should be hip-width apart and knees should be slightly bent.
Benefits: Encourages full body circulation and is a great stretch for calves and heels.
How: Lie facedown on the floor with thumbs directly under your shoulders. Extend your legs with the tops of your feet on the floor. Tighten your pelvic floor and tuck your hips downward as you squeeze your glutes. Press shoulders down and away from ears. Push through your thumbs and index fingers as you raise your chest off the ground. Relax and repeat.
Benefits: Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms and wrists.
4. Warrior II
How: Stand with legs three to four feet apart, turning your right foot out 90 degrees and left foot slightly in. Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend your arms out to the sides. Keep your palms down. Bend your right knee 90 degrees, keeping your knee over ankle, gaze over right hand. Stay for a minute, then switch sides and repeat.
Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles.
5. Pigeon Pose
How: Begin in a full push-up position, palms aligned under shoulders. Place your left knee on the floor near your shoulder with your left heel by right hip. Lower down to your forearms and bring your right leg down with the top of the foot on the floor. Keep your chest lifted to the wall in front of you, gazing down. If you’re more flexible, bring your chest down to the floor and extend your arms in front of you. Pull your navel in towards your spine and tighten your pelvic-floor muscles; contract the right side of your glutes. Bend your knee to the floor and release; do five reps and then switch sides.
Benefits: It opens up your shoulders and the chest. It also doubles as a great quad stretch.
6. Child’s Pose
How: Sit up comfortably on your heels. Roll your torso forward, bringing your forehead to rest on the bed in front of you. Lower your chest as close to your knees as you comfortably can, extending your arms in front of you. Hold the pose and breathe.
Benefits: Allows you to relax and breathe into your back; stretches the hips, thighs and ankles; relives back pain and neck pain.
7. Tree Pose
How: Stand with your arms by your side. Shift your weight onto your left leg and place the sole of your right foot inside your left thigh, keeping your hips facing forward. Once you are able to balance, bring your hands in front of you in prayer position. While inhaling, extend your arms over shoulders, palms separated and facing each other. Stay for 30 seconds, lower and repeat on the opposite side.
Benefits: Improves your balance, strengthens your thighs, calves, ankles and spine.
8. Mountain Pose
How: Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, arms at sides and weight evenly distributed through your soles. Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.
Benefits: Improves posture, centres you and mental clarity.
9. Seated Twist
How: Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh; bend your left knee. Keep your right knee pointed towards the ceiling. Place your left elbow to the outside of your right knee and your right hand on the floor behind you. Twist as far as you can towards your right, moving from your abdomen. Keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Stay for a minute and then switch sides and repeat.
Benefits: Gives you an amazing stretch, especially after long hours sitting at the office; works the shoulders, hips and neck.