Yoga, when done properly, can help you relax, strengthen your body and relieve stress. But many people struggle with finding the time to get to yoga classes. So, it’s great to have some yoga poses at home to ease into a yoga routine. It’s also a great idea to do a few yoga poses even if you can’t get to a class or you don’t have a yoga mat. You can always try to do it at home. Yoga can be done anywhere and anytime.
Tired of going from pose to pose in your daily yoga practice to reach your ultimate goal? If so, then you should try incorporating some of these 7 yoga poses into your daily routine while you’re walking. The best part? You’ll achieve the same outcomes as your regular yoga practice, without the need for a mat.
Let’s face it, we don’t always have the time or energy to pack up our yoga gear and head to a busy yoga studio for an hour of yoga, no matter how fun the class is. Sometimes a quiet walk in the woods or a stroll around the neighborhood is enough for some fresh air and new ideas.
Walking is a great exercise not only for the body but also for the mind. As we move forward, we don’t get stuck in one place and see opportunities to solve problems we hadn’t noticed before. The next time you go for a walk or a hike in the woods, here are some yoga poses you can do during your hike to add a little exercise to your day.
1. Side extension bodywork
The side stretch, which is easy to do anywhere, opens and stretches the side of the body well. Stand hip-width apart and raise your arms above your head. Start by stretching to the left and take the left hand into the right hand. You can also extend one arm at a time and leave the other at your side. Reach out to the other side of the body from where the arm was raised. Stretch from left to right 4 to 6 times.
2. Garudasana or Eagle’s Pose (hands only)
To stretch the shoulders and upper back and release the tension we so often carry in this area, you can bring your arms into eagle pose. Cross your arms, bring your right hand under your left hand, elbows together. Raise your forearms to the sky with the backs of your hands together, or rotate them so that your palms face each other. As you lift your elbows, feel a stretch in your upper back. Find your spot and take 5 long breaths, then switch sides.
3. Uttanasana or standing forward bend
Bending forward is ideal for relaxing the entire back and quieting the mind. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend forward. Keep your knees bent and your stomach against your hips, keeping your back straight. Place your hands on the floor or grasp your elbows. You can even gently rock from side to side to further relax your back. Take 5 to 10 long breaths here.
4. High crescent slots
To stretch your legs and hip muscles, assume a high, crescent lunge position. Start by placing your feet hip-width apart and place one foot behind your back, heel off the ground, toes and thigh pointing forward. Bend the front leg, keep the back leg straight. Make sure the front knee is above the ankle. Raise your hands to the sky, palms together. Keep your neck in a neutral position. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths and then switch sides.
5. Prasarita Padottanasana / Bend forward on spread legs
To stretch your legs, feet and ankles and calm your mind and nervous system, spend some time doing a wide leg forward bend. First, lean forward with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips and start rotating forward from the hips. Place your hands on the floor or on a bench if you can’t reach the ground. Stretch your spine on the inhale and lower yourself deeper on the exhale, eventually bringing your hands between your feet. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
6. Vrkshasana / Tree pose
Get in touch with your surroundings by practicing balance. First, put all your weight on one leg and lift the other leg so that it rests on your shin or inner thigh. Bring your palms together in front of your heart or, if you are comfortable with that, raise your hands above your head. You can also keep your arms open if that is more comfortable for your shoulders. Hold for 5 breaths, then switch sides.
7. Upper body flexion
Perform this trick while receiving healing energy from nearby trees (or find a wall to support you). Twisting turns the spine and stretches the back muscles. First, stand in front of the tree with your feet hip-width apart, about an arm’s length away. Place your right hand on the tree, your left hand can be at your side, or you can grab your right hip with your left hand.
Keeping your legs and hips straight, begin to twist to the right, supporting yourself on your right arm. Imagine rolling up from your belly, chest and shoulders and eventually turning your head to look up, if you feel comfortable doing so. Hold this position for 5 long breaths and slowly release the twist as you exhale, then switch sides.
We often forget that yoga is not bound to a room or a place where we can lay down our yoga mat. Yoga is where our body is. Play with the poses, strike a pose here and there, and enjoy the beautiful nature!