5 Yoga Poses to Try at Home
The ancient tradition of Yoga is well known for helping people reduce stress, improve flexibility and increase strength. So, for those of you who have never tried yoga before, which yoga asanas (postures) can you try at home?
Here are 5 suggestions from Zoë at Lavender Yoga.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
So, this is just standing, right? Well, yes and no. It is definitely standing but Tadasana is standing with intention and awareness. Try these few steps to help you stand like you’ve never stood before…
Stand your feet hip distance apart
Very slightly bend your knees (to engage your quadriceps)
Engage your belly by gently bringing your belly back towards your spine
Release the shoulders down the back
Allow your arms to come down by your side with palms facing forward
Lengthen your neck by reaching the crown of your head towards the ceiling at the same time as slightly tucking your chin
Breathe for 5-8 breaths! Close your eyes for a bit of chill out time!
Benefits: Grounding, calming, increased body awareness, empowerment.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Probably the most famous yoga pose. And here is how you can try it at home:
Come to an all-fours position with shoulders, elbows and wrists in a line plus knees and hips aligned
Walk your hands one hand print forward and press your hands into the ground
On an exhalation tuck your toes and whilst keeping your knees very bent, push into your hands and reach your bum high into the air
Engage your belly and ensure your hands are still strong
Think length from the head to the base of your spine
Very slowly begin to straighten the legs by bringing the heels towards the ground BUT without causing the back to round. As soon as your back starts to round, keep a little bend in the knees
It is likely that your heels will not come to the ground – this is OK! Downward facing dog is first and foremost a spine lengthening and overall body strengthening posture. Heels to the ground may come later in your practice, or depending on your skeletal structure, it may not come at all… this is totally OK ☺
Breathe here for 5-8 breaths!
Benefits: Legs, arms and core strengthening, calming (eventually).
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Child’s pose is a common pose in many yoga classes and is extremely accessible for you to try at home and use at any point during your own yoga practice. Depending on individual bodies it can also be a strong stretch in the groin, inner thigh and along the ankles. Overall it is the perfect pose to come to if you want to calm the breath in between more strenuous yoga postures.
From downward facing dog with an exhalation bring your knees to the ground with your knees apart by about 30-40 degrees
Bring your bum towards your heels
Release your elbows down and relax your shoulders
Allow your forehead to come to the ground OR onto a block/book/cushion
If you experience any tension in the thighs or ankles, try placing a rolled-up blanket or towel in between the bum and the heels or between the feet and the floor
Take 5-10 breaths
Benefits: Surrender, comforting, inner thigh/hip stretch, ankle/toe stretch.
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
With so much driving and sitting in our daily lives, any postures which can release our hips are a wondrous thing! Enjoy this great hip and groin stretch.
Starting from an all-fours position, bring your right foot in between your hands. Align right knee over right ankle.
Gently begin to move the left leg backwards until your feel a stretch in the front of the left hip (don’t push too far! Only take it as far as is comfortable for you today)
On the inhale, engage your belly and bring your torso upright and your arms overhead with palms facing together
Look straight ahead, or look up if it feels OK in your neck
If you feel unstable, engage your core and ensure all 4 corners of your front foot are engaged and strong into the ground. Also, pushing your back toenails into the ground can also help with stability.
Take 5 breaths here
To come out, exhale the arms back down to the ground and come back to an all-fours position
Take downward facing dog pose
Repeat the other side
Benefits: Hip and groin flexibility, chest opening, core strengthening, energising.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
One of the most rewarding, calming and beneficial aspects of any yoga practice is the 5-10 minutes at the end of every class where students lie in Savasana. THIS is the pose where all the stretching, moving, strengthening and hard work is given the opportunity to settle into your body. Arguably this is the most important part! And it can also be the hardest due to it being a quiet moment where (maybe for the first time in a long time) you need to give yourself real permission to just be, exactly as you are.
Come to lie on your back with your legs slightly apart
Allow your legs to release and feet to naturally roll-out to the side
Have your palms facing up towards the ceiling with a bit of space between your arms and torso
Let go. Relax. Focus on your breathing. Stay present. Just BE. There are many ways a yoga teacher can help guide you through savasana, but when you are on your own, set yourself a short timer (not too loud!) and consciously try and release and relax your body into the ground beneath you. You are allowed to do nothing other than focus on your breath. You deserve to have this rest, I promise ☺
Surrender and enjoy
Benefits: Relaxation, stress-reduction, meditative quiet.
Zoë Lavender Stuart, founder of Lavender Yoga, is a vinyasa yoga teacher based in Zürich, Switzerland. Originally from the UK, Zoë has lived in Zürich for 4 years and have been practicing yoga for over 5 years. Zoë completed her vinyasa yoga teacher training in March 2015 with David Lurey and Mirjam Wagner. Between 2015 and 2016 she was teaching yoga part-time whilst also working full time in marketing. At the beginning of 2017 Zoë chose to follow the yoga path full-time - and is loving every minute of it!
We love that Zoë has followed what warms her soul and has found her freedom through both practising and teaching yoga.
"Moving away from my corporate career and becoming a yoga teacher was without doubt one of the scariest but also most rewarding things I have ever done! I want to share my passion with you, both on the mat through private and group classes, as well as through my blog where I share my experience and insights into yoga".
To connect or follow Zoë's journey, find her on Instagram @lavenderyoga