[Jennie Couling | Contributing Writer]
There are all kinds of excuses we use to get out of exercise: not enough time, not enough money for a gym membership, not knowing where to start. Yoga is a good exercise to start with if you have only five minutes in your busy day, it has many benefits to your health and wellbeing.
Yoga has been known to improve lower back pain, joint pain and neck pain, and studies from the International Journal of Yoga show that yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improve sleep patterns. This will help many of us students as back pain from leaning over notepads and computers is a given when studying, and our mental health is always on the edge with assignment deadlines and workloads.
According to a study presented at the Experimental Biology 2006 conference, Yoga also has a positive impact on your strength and balance, along with your breathing and lung capacity as research suggests that the deep breathing involved in yoga impacts chest wall expansion, and forced expiratory lung volumes which improves overall respiratory function can can help manage conditions such as asthma. Your heart health is improved as well as studies from the Harvard Healthbeat suggest yoga can reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, ease heart palpitations and lower other heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol levels, blood sugar and stress hormones.
With this quick yoga routine, there’s no excuses – all you need is five minutes and a bit of space!
Step 1. Start standing tall. Make sure your heels are behind your toes and hips are stacked above feet, shoulders over toes. With a big inhale take your arms overhead.
Step 2. As you exhale bend forwards over your legs and let your head and neck soften inward.
Step 3. With your next inhale, lengthen up to a long flat back looking in front of you.
Step 4. Plant your hands firmly on the ground and step back into Plank (top of pushup position) and hold for five deep breaths.
Step 5. Drop your knees down and move into Upward Dog (you can always bend the elbows if this feels like too much).
Step 6. Keeping your knees on the ground, shift your hips up and back to sit on your heels and move into Child’s Pose.
Step 7. Come back onto hands and knees, fingers spread wide.
Step 8. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back to a Downward Dog. Your should be relaxing towards the ground (but don’t necessarily have to touch), hips lifting up, shoulders and head relaxed.
Step 9. On your next inhale, lift up on to your tip toes reaching your heels high. As you exhale let them down. Repeat this twice.
Step 10. On your next inhale, lift your right leg up high moving into Downward Dog Split (opening the hips if it feels comfortable).
Step 11. Bend your right knee and bring it towards your forehead and plant down in a Low Lunge. Use your fingertips for balance and let your hips sink low.
Step 12. Keeping your feet where they are, take a big inhale and come up into a High Lunge. Your hips sinking with shoulders relaxed.
Step 13. As you exhale, bring your palms together in front of your chest, with a big inhale to lift yourself up.
Step 14. On your next exhale, spin your torso to the right resting your upper arm on your thigh moving into Twist Lunge. Push your bottom hand into to the top to create space between your thigh and your stomach.
Step 15. Then open up your arms, putting your left hand on the floor and holding up the right to open the chest.
Step 16. Bring both of your palms to the ground. Sink your hips low and step back into Plank pose.
Step 17. Knees lifted or lowered (up to you) bend your elbows and ease down into an Upward Dog.
Step 18. Keeping your knees on the ground, lift your hips to sit back on your ankles and move into Child’s Pose.
Step 19. Repeat steps 6-16 with the other leg.
Step 20. Push back and up into Downward Dog.
Step 21. Walk your feet up to your hands to come into a forward fold.
Step 22. With a big inhale roll up to standing one vertebra at a time.
Next week we will be filming the moves that go with this tutorial, for those visual learners! Visit the UnionTV section of Trident Media for updates!