Have you ever tried moving something you do inside all the time outside? You should try it, its fun shaking things up a bit. In my case, I thought I’d make the most of a beautiful July morning and brought my yoga routine to the great outdoors. Perhaps you’re feeling sore from the extra gardening you’ve been doing, or the heat has sapped your energy. Whatever the reason, there are no excuses for not trying these simple, relaxing poses, inside or outside.
If you haven’t had much yoga experience, these asanas (poses) are really easy to do and remember, and are perfect for warmer weather. Start by getting your breathing controlled and steady, then you’re ready to go. Prune wasn’t sure about doing yoga outside at first… but was then happy to help demonstrate.
We’ll start with downward dog, Prune’s favourite.
One of the best known asanas, downward dog provides a full body stretch, especially for the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches of the feet and hands. It also strengthens the arms and legs as well as having a calming effect on the body and improving digestion. Phew. You can move from one foot to the other to get a deeper stretch, or lift one leg and then the other to work on balance.
Next up- cat and cow. These two poses are often done one after the other since moving between the two is a good way to give your spine a gentle massage.
I’m surprised Prune didn’t bark at me. These are great to do if you’ve been sitting cramped for a long time, like after a road trip or long flight (or after binge watching NCIS).
Now for some standing poses. Tree pose is popular…
It strengthens the legs, ankles and spine whilst stretching the inner things. It also improves balance. Prune has faith in my balancing abilities, as you can see.
Here’s another one to work on balance: standing bow pose.
This might remind you of those stretches in PE class, and similarly, it gives a good stretch to the quads and improves balance and concentration.
The last standing pose I’ll be showing you is reverse prayer hands.
Which I guess is quite self-explanatory. This one stretches and strengthens the wrists, forearms, elbows and shoulders so its great for all of us who spend too long on our computers and phones.
We shall now move back to the floor for pigeon pose, which is another one Prune enjoys.
This one’s technically an intermediate asana but don’t let that stop you from giving it a go. It supposedly increases the range of motion of the femur in the hip socket and lengthens the hip flexors, but either way it really gives a good stretch to the whole body.
Now for one of my favourites; butterfly pose.
Bring the soles of your feet together as close to your body as possible. This is a moving pose so you’ll get more out of it if you pretend your legs are wings and flap them a bit. This gives the knees and inner thighs a good stretch and also stimulates the heart, improving general circulation.
And finally, to cool down, take a forward-fold.
Inversions like this one have a calming effect on the nervous system, so are good to do after a hard work-out, or when you need to destress. You can do this one at the end or in-between asanas if you need to catch your breath.
There you have it, a few easy poses. Spend 10 minutes doing a few each day and if nothing else you’ll feel stretched and ready for action. Prune certainly agrees…
Btw, this is hero pose, another one to do if you’re feeling over-achieving. I’m not sure of the name of the one Prune’s doing, you’ll have to ask her. Hero pose is good for posture if you’re a sloucher and also helps digestion as you create space for your internal organs to do their thing. Just FYI.
I hope you’ll give some of these a go and if you’re looking for more yoga, why not try some sun salutations which Prune and I demonstrated in my last yoga post. If you want more info about the benefits of these and other asanas you can visit this handy pose finder. Have a lovely weekend xx
All photos my own