One of the great joys of yoga is its simplicity and adaptability. You don’t need fancy equipment and it can be done anywhere. So it’s really easy to bring a few moves home when you’re keen to improve on the physical practice. And yoga’s mind-calming, mood-lifting gifts are always available to un-ruffle feathers when needed.
Here are five simple ways to get you rocking yoga at home…
1. Bumblebee breathing
For instant relief from anger, frustration or anxiety, try this brilliant pranayama or yogic breathing exercise. Bumblebee breathing, or Bhramari in Sanskrit, uses a humming sound to soothe the nerves and calm the mind. Start by sitting comfortably, closing eyes and mouth. Take a deep inhale and create an even humming sound as you exhale softly and slowly through the nose. Keep repeating, working to increase the length of your exhale each time. To increase the intensity, place thumbs over the ears and fingertips over your eyes. This will increase the humming sensation inside your head. Can be done on the bus but don’t miss your stop. Om!
2. Alternative Netflix watching
Why sit on the sofa when there’s all that brilliant floor to play with? Next time you’re watching a film, try sitting in Malasana yogic squat in front of the sofa with your back against it. If you struggle with Malasana, use lots of props. Stick cushions or piles of blocks/books under your backside, play with hands in front of you on the floor - shifting weight from feet to hands. Experiment with how wide you need to place your feet to get soles flat on the floor. When you’ve had enough, flip over into Happy Baby (it’s like an upside-down squat) and see how close you can get your knees to your armpits. Who knew film night could be so much fun?
3. Ditch the desk
This probably only flies if you’re working from home. Come down to the floor with your laptop and bring some yogic flair to your project with Wide Angled Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana). Sit with legs wide apart in a v-shape. Keep toes pointing upwards and start with an arch in the lower back (ie, tip the top of your pelvis forwards). Take a big breath, pull belly in and gently, slowly fold forwards as you exhale. Play around with it, paying close attention to feelings in the back and inner thighs. Maybe you’ll end up with chin resting on hands as you read that fascinating report. Try not to fall asleep.
4. Kitchen drills
The great thing about kitchens is that most of them have counter tops or tables to balance against. So whenever you’re making a cup of tea, stand on one leg while the kettle boils. If you find Tree pose tricky, start with toe on the ground and heel resting on the ankle of the standing leg. Progress to sole of the foot on the inside on the calf or thigh of the standing leg. Keep contact with the counter or table and test your balance for a few seconds at a time. Keep breathing slowly and deeply. Soften your gaze and watch the steam rising from the kettle. Tea never tasted so good..
5. Walking the dog
Can be done with or without a dog. Next time you’re wandering around, inside or out, make each step feel like your feet are kissing the ground. Step softly, rolling from heel to toes, feeling every inch of contact. Slow everything down and match your movement with the breath. Can you use the whole length of an exhale to place one foot fully down? The whole length of an inhale to peel one foot fully off? Notice the dog go into a trance. Weird J
If you’d like to learn more or try a class with Joy, you can find more information at yogidup.com.
Joy Le Fevre