Lately, yoga has grown in popularity especially during the pandemic as it is something to do while in quarantine. In “10 Things to do During Quarantine”, yoga is number eight on the list of things to do. In a poll asking people if they have ever tried yoga, the results were 80% yes to 20% no. This shows that yoga is a popular activity that many people have enjoyed doing at least once. Studies show that yoga helps improve one’s energy, mind, sleep, flexibility and a reduction in stress. According to the CDC’s National Health Statistics Reports, “More than two-thirds reported that they use yoga because they perceive it focuses on the whole person—mind, body, and spirit, or to improve energy.”
Do you feel like you don’t have enough energy to get the day started? Do you feel so stressed that you can’t sleep, so you need to wind down? Well I have a solution with five yoga positions to do in the morning and five yoga positions to do at night that require very little flexibility. DISCLAIMER: do the poses that make you feel comfortable and hold them for as long as you want.
In the Morning:
- Surya Namaskar (“Sun Salutations”)
“Sun Salutations” is traditionally done in the mornings. It is a group of positions meant to get the body moving. It targets the back, shoulders, chest, and hamstrings to release tension that built up while sleeping. It is recommended that you do two rounds, breathing in and out flowing through “Sun Salutations”.
- Trikonasana (“Triangle Pose”)
“Triangle Pose” stretches your ankles, hamstrings, thighs, shoulders, hips, thoraxes, calves, and knees. While doing this pose, make sure to open up your chest reaching toward the ceiling. Repeat at least two times on each side holding the pose for 10-15 seconds.
- Virabhadrasana (“Warrior 3”)
“Warrior 3” works on strengthening your abdominal muscles, spinal muscles and stretching your hamstrings. Most importantly, it targets achieving better balance and helps your mind focus and become more active. I recommend doing the pose at least once for each leg while holding it for 5-10 seconds.
- Anjaneyasana (“Low Lunge”)
The “Low Lunge” pose targets your knee and its supporting muscles. It stretches many muscles including the sartorius, iliopsoas, and rectus femoris. Depending on how you’re feeling you can bend your back with your arms up, down, or on your hips. Get into this position at least two times for each side and hold for at least 10 seconds.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (“Downward Dog”)
“Downward Dog” is the common pose and perfect for transitioning into different poses. While doing this pose, try moving your hips side to side and bending one knee at a time. It targets stretching the hamstrings, shoulder, calf, hand, and arches of the foot. Try not to bend your back while keeping it in a straight line. Get into this position at least 5 times and hold each for 10 seconds.
- Balasana (“Wide-Knee Child’s Pose”)
The “Wide-Knee Child’s Pose” is meant to calm the body, while stretching the hips, thighs, and ankles. The pose is a great start to nighttime yoga. If choosing to reach your arms in front of you, it targets the shoulders and hands. This resting pose is recommended to be held for 30 seconds to a few minutes.
- Ananda Balasana (“Happy Baby”)
“Happy Baby” stretches out the inner groins and spine. It also opens up your shoulders and chest. This pose is meant to calm your nerves and relieve the stress that you’ve built up throughout the day. You should hold this pose steady for about 15 seconds, and then rock side-to-side while holding this pose for another 15 seconds.
The “Twisted Roots” resting pose stretches out your spine with the twisting of your leg muscles. The benefit is balance, which keeps the top of the body flat on the ground and the other twisting to the side. You should hold for about 30 seconds to a minute while reaching out your arms on both sides.
- Viparita Karani (“Waterfall”)
The “Waterfall” pose can be done against the wall with your feet up or without the wall. This pose relieves swollen ankles and legs, alleviates menstrual cramps, and regulates blood flow allowing the body to relax into a calm state of mind. This pose can be done for up to 5 minutes, or the time can be split up with other poses in between.
- Shavasana (“Corpse Pose”)
The “Corpse Pose” is recommended to do inside of one’s bed. You lie flat on your back, breathing in and out slowly, while calming your mind. This pose is done while closing your eyes. You can do this for multiple minutes or until you fall asleep.
Yoga is a flow moving exercise. You can transition into each pose and do each one multiple times. For example, many people use the “Downward Dog” pose to transition into different poses. If you are interested in learning more about yoga and trying it, check out the SJU Rec Center Yoga classes under the topic “Group Fitness” on the “Campus Recreation” section of the SJU website. Classes are on Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 12:15 pm in the O’Pake Upper Gym.