- Exercise & Fitness
15 Minute Yoga for Relaxation (Beginners)
I am not a yogi master. If you seriously want to know more about yoga, it is better to join a class.
But I have been practicing yoga for the past 4 years now. And the basic, simple stretches with proper breathing techniques have made me experience its benefits of relaxation. So if you do not have time to enroll in a class but willing to invest fifteen minutes a day, I invite you to try these exercises.
If you have any health problems, always consult your doctor first!
Before You Begin...
A. Establish a regular schedule to do yoga.
The best practice is to do a little yoga (15 minutes) a day than a lot once or twice a week. You can have the option to do it before breakfast or in the early evening.
B. Wear comfortable clothing and use a mat.
Wear clothes that do not in any way hamper or restrict your breathing and movement. Use a sticky mat or non-slip surface mat or a yoga mat. You may also play soothing music, use some scented candles, or burner with lavender oil for ambiance.
C. Do the exercise on an empty stomach.
If you ate a large meal, wait for 3 hours to pass before starting yoga. Two hours after a light meal and an hour after a snack.
D. Always work within your limits.
Never force your body into a posture. Nothing you do should cause you pain. If you do feel pain, ease off. If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, experience dizziness or heart palpitations, stop immediately. If you do it gently and it still does not help, seek medical advice.
The Importance of Breathing Properly
I have discovered that relaxed breathing techniques releases tension from our body. Breathing also provides oxygen for our body to carry on with its "work" and give us energy to move, think and feel. It can also powerfully influence your physical, mental and emotional states.
How to breathe properly:
Yoga encourages diaphragmatic breathing where you inhale through the nose (using your diaphragm, of course) and exhale slowly and smoothly, and being able to coordinate the breath and movement.
Check if you are doing the proper breathing technique
- Sit comfortably with your palms resting on your abdomen.
- Inhale and feel your abdomen swell out and your fingers moving apart. Then, feel the abdomen sink back as you exhale.
- Repeat seven times.
Stretch those tired neck and shoulder muscles
ARE YOU READY?
1. Neck and Shoulder Stretches
- Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width distance apart , your arms at the side. Take a few deep breaths (as instructed above).
- Allow the head to come forward slowly, bringing the chin towards the chest. Stay in the position for several breaths.
- Lift the chin slowly towards the ceiling, keeping the back of the neck long. Hold for a few breaths and return to the starting position.
- Relax your shoulders, and slowly turn your head to the right. Hold for several breaths.
- Face the center and then look over to your left. Hold for several breaths.
- Face the center and roll your shoulders forward and then backwards.
Feel the stretch at your sides
2. Standing Side Stretch
- As you inhale, raise the left arm up beside your head, fingers reaching up to the ceiling. Slowly reach out to the side as you exhale. Keep breathing.
- Return to the upright position as you inhale. Expell your breath out slowly as you circle the arm back down. Repeat on the other side.
Arch your back to release tension
3. Standing Back Arch
- Place your hand on the hips. Place your thumbs against the lower back.
- Lift the breastbone up as you inhale and allow the chin to look towards the ceiling. Take several breaths.
- Slowly release the pose and go back to the starting position.
- Repeat the procedure to release the tension from the back.
Twist and release the tension from your spine
4. Easy Twist
- Sit cross-legged with the points of your fingers touching the floor, stretched in front of you.
- Inhale, lift your right hand up and exhale slowly twist and bring your arm up in the air and let it settle down to the back. Also turn your head as far as it will comfortably go. Hold the position and take several breaths.
- Inhale, bring the arms back up and exhale, let your arms go back to the starting posiiton. Repeat using the left arm.
Stretch your back muscles
5. Back Stretch
- Lie down in a prone position.
- When you inhale, lift your torso up while being supported by your arms.
- Inhale and exhale slowly as you stay in this position.
- Complete seven breaths.
- If you can, continue to the next position which is to stretch your arms.
- Go as high as you are comfortable.
- Complete another seven breaths in this position.
- Lower down your arms and relax.
For the back and hips
6. Bended Knee Stretch
- Lie on your back with your hands on each kneecap. Inhale.
- As you exhale, draw the knees towards the chest, bending your arms as you do. Keep the shoulders relaxed.
- Repeat the cycle seven times to ten times. Make sure to coordinate your breaths with your movement.
Note: This simple exercise is one of the best for relieving stress and helps the back and hips (esp. after sitting for a long while.)
Relax all parts of your body and let go
7. Dead Man Pose
- Lie down comfortably with your legs outstretched. Let your feet roll out. Relax your shoulders and place your arms with palms facing up.
- Close your eyes and be still.
- Slowly inhale, breathing all the goodness in the world and slowly exhale, expelling all the worries and fears for the day.
- Relax each part of your body starting from your forehead, cheeks, chin,mouth, shoulders, arms, chest, pelvic area, thighs, legs, feet.
- Continue to inhale and exhale allowing the tension to be drained away.
Congratulations! We did it!
Special thanks to
Hubber Dayzeebee for taking my pictures. We had a lot of fun during the photoshoot.
- When you feel you are ready to end the session, draw your awareness back to the room. Then start slowly to move your fingers, toes, ankles, arms, shoulders.
- Lift the arms behind the head and stretch all the way up to your fingertips and down to your toes.
- Roll over to the right and sit up slowly.
- Congratulations! You just completed your first yoga session. That was a relaxing one, right?
Note: Later on, you can actually increase your yoga time to thirty minutes and even an hour!