If you haven’t tried yoga before, the thought of facing a roomful of bendy, Lululemon-clad bodies can be a tad intimidating. And even if you’re an experienced practitioner, work can get in the way of making that 7pm class.
Why not have your Zen cake and eat it, by practising yoga at home?
To achieve optimal health, Pure Yoga instructor Kristin Khor recommends setting aside uninterrupted time daily for practice. “As my teacher says, ‘with repetition, the magic arises’. Yoga means to yoke — it’s a union, a path to rediscover our connection to nature, our surroundings and ourselves, and the moves I’ve designed help incorporate peace and balance into your life through yoga,” she says.
For starters, she recommends finding a suitable spot, to cultivate your practice — it could be within nature or on a balcony, but “wherever you choose to make your space, be confident with it and just keep ‘showing up’”.
Khor cautions that if you have pre-existing health conditions or injuries, slow down your practice to find balance and stability. Also, it’s important to practise at a comfort level that allows you to breathe deeply and normally. “Never try to force yourself into the pose. Work with what you can — time, fitness level, flexibility — and just be patient with yourself. Of course, make sure to enjoy the process,” she adds.
Step 1: Meditation
Sit cross-legged on a yoga mat or blanket/towel with your back straight and your shoulders back, and rest your hands, palms facing upwards, on your thighs or knees. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, focusing on your breath. Stay with this for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Bridge Pose
This stretches the front of the body. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip distance apart. Place your arms flat against each side of your body, palms facing down. Push your feet into the floor, and lift your butt, hips and then your torso up and off the mat, until your body is supported by your feet and your shoulders. Clasp your hands together underneath your torso, arms straight. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.
Step 3: Gate Pose and Supine Twist
Gate Pose: Start off in a kneeling position. Stretch your right leg straight out to the right, with your right foot flat on the mat, toes pointing to the right. Reach your left arm straight up to the sky, then bend your body sideways to the right, sliding your right hand along the right side of your right leg until your fingers rest on the side of your shin. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Supine Twist: Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, facing the ceiling. Grip a small bolster or folded towel between your knees. Place your arms perpendicular to your torso on either side of the shoulders. Lower both knees to your right, until the right side of your right thigh touches the floor. Turn your head to the left. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Step 4: Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
This stretches the back of the body, and the hamstrings. Sit up with your back straight, arms alongside your body, and your legs straight out in front of you. Your body should look like an “L” from the side. Fold your left leg such that the sole of your left foot contacts your inner right thigh, and your left knee is pointing to the left. Bend forward and grasp the outside of your right foot with your left hand. Use your right arm for support, or alternatively, reach your right hand to the inside of your right foot. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Step 5: Pigeon Pose
This opens up the hips and lower back. Starting off from a plank position, step your right foot forward until your right knee is at a 90-degree position. Stretch your left leg straight out behind you. With your arms supporting your upper body, slowly move your right foot towards the left, resting your right shin on the mat with your right knee pointing right. Bend your body towards the front, until your elbows are resting on the floor. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Step 6: Supported Side Plank Pose
This strengthens your obliques. Start off in a kneeling position. Stretch your right leg to the right, with your right foot flat and your toes pointing forward. Bend towards your left side, and place your left palm on the floor to support your body. Raise your right arm straight up, and then stretch it towards your left side. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Step 7: Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
This promotes the natural flow of blood towards your heart and head. Lying on your back, scoot your butt as close as possible to a wall. Place a folded towel/small bolster between your lower back and the floor if necessary. Lift your legs straight up in the air and rest them against the wall, pushing your butt as close to the wall as possible so that your body forms an L-shape when viewed from the side. Rest your arms at an angle on either side of the body. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.
Step 8: Corpse pose
This helps relax your mind and body. Lie flat on your back, with your arms slightly away from your body, palms facing upwards. Your legs should be straight, with your feet wider than hip distance apart, toes dropping outwards. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
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