Written by Leona Tan
Traveling on a tight schedule, whether for work or leisure and over the busy Christmas period can be exhausting. It often leaves us feeling sluggish, especially if we have little time for exercise. This is where yoga can be a great way to bring back some balance to the mind and body, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Here’s an easy to follow, 10-minute sequence to help energize the body and stretch the muscles. No props or mat required, in fact, all you’ll need is some floor space to get moving. So let’s get started!
- Sitting meditation: Start by sitting comfortably on the floor, legs crossed if that feels good. Closing the eyes, take a couple of deep breaths in and out, and start to bring attention to your breath. Thoughts may come in and out, but try to keep coming back to your breath. Start to silently count each inhalation and exhalation, starting with 1 on the inhale, 2 on the exhale, 3 on the inhale, and so forth. Try to match the length of your inhalation and exhalation. Keeping going like this until you reach 20. Take a couple more breaths in your own time. When you’re ready, gently peel open your eyes.
- Cat/cow: Come onto your hands and knees, shoulders directly over your wrists, hips above the knees. Inhale to arch your back, chest facing forward. Exhale to round the back, tucking the belly into the spine. Repeat 4x in your own breath. Return the spine to neutral position.
- Downward facing dog: From neutral position, move your hands a little further forward. Spread the fingers. Press the knuckles down and press the floor away. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling and send the thighs back behind you. Lift the kneecaps up as you press the heels down. Spread the shoulder blades and soften the neck. Hold here for 5 breaths.
- Plank: Inhale and roll the upper back forward until your shoulders are directly above your wrists. Keep the hips lifted and look forward. Breathe. Hold this position for 5 breaths. If it’s too much, sit back on your heels and rest in child’s pose.
- High Lunge Twist: Exhale to lift the hips up and send the thighs back to downward facing dog. Inhale, lift the right leg up and place it between your hands. Press the feet down to rise up, lifting the arms up. Shoulders are relaxed. Breathe. Exhale rotate your right palm to face out. Twist your chest slightly to the right and lower your right arm back behind you. Inhale bring the arm back up. Repeat 2x with the same arm, in your own breath. Exhale place the arms back down and return to plank position. Repeat on the other side (placing left leg in between hands for high lunge).
- Baby cobra: From plank position, roll slightly onto the ball of your feet and gently lower all the way down to rest on your belly. Try to do this in one movement. If it’s too much, gently lower the knees first. Rest your forehead on the ground. Arms are beside your ribs, elbows tucked in. Inhale, press the pelvis down and lift your chess. Keep the neck long. Hold here for 2 breaths. Exhale lower all the way down. Repeat 2x.
- Mountain pose: Stand with your feet together. Distribute your weight evenly along the entire length of your feet. Stretch your hands out straight by the side. Relax your shoulders and let your shoulder blades slide down. This will gently push your chest out. Keep your head straight and chin parallel to the ground. Stay in this pose for 10 breaths. You can even bring the palms together in the Namaste position in front of your chest.