Shape up and find your zen at home with these 5 easy yoga poses.
Getting fit is much more fun when you have company, so we’ve created a simple, at-home yoga routine for you to share with your children. Our five gentle stretches, developed by Chris Freytag, a YogaFit-certified instructor in Minneapolis, mom of three and author of Move to Lose, are perfect for beginners of all ages.
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, back straight and palms together as if praying. Shift your weight left and slowly lift your right foot, placing the sole on the inside of your left thigh, knee or ankle. Press your right knee back and hips forward and even. Focus on an object in front of you. Once you feel balanced, push your arms overhead like the limbs of a tree, keeping your shoulders down. Hold for four to six deep breaths, then switch legs and repeat the steps.
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Wrap your hands around your ankles (keep your grip loose), and gently push your knees as low to the floor as you can by pressing them down with your elbows. Lengthen your spine―it should feel like the top of your head is reaching toward the sky. Lower your shoulders away from your ears and tuck your chin slightly. Hold for four to six deep breaths.
Get down on your hands and knees―your hands should be shoulder-width apart, knees hip-width apart. Move into the cat pose: Exhale and tuck your tailbone under, round your spine and drop your head as if you’re looking at your belly. Hold for one inhale and exhale. Then move into the cow pose: Inhale, then exhale and extend your spine, drop your belly toward the floor, lift your tailbone to the ceiling and look slightly upward. Hold for one inhale and exhale. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Start on your hands and knees with your fingers spread apart. Flex your toes so that their bottom is touching the floor. Straighten your legs and lift your tailbone to the ceiling, pulling your belly button toward your spine. Gently push your heels down until you feel the back of your legs stretch. Keep your back long. Look at your toes. Relax―don’t draw your shoulders to your ears. Hold for four to six deep breaths.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Bend your knees and move your butt back as if you’re about to sit down, keeping your knees behind your toes. At the same time, sweep your arms overhead, alongside your ears. Keep your chest lifted at a comfortable angle. Squeeze your abdominal, thigh and butt muscles to stay balanced. Hold for four to six deep breaths.