Yoga for Everyone (Else)

Ever watch those Yoga commercials with the slender, buff, flexible and tanned exercisers? There they are, striking perfect, attractive poses with smiles on their faces and all you can think not just ‘No,’ but ‘Hell, no!’

Think back to the last few days. Did you do any exercise? No? How about the last week. No? The last month… No? Oh boy…Read on, my friend, read on.

You don’t have to be one of those impossibly attractive and fit people in the exercise commercials to keep yourself healthy. I have a routine that keeps me limber, trains my balance, increases muscular endurance, and (however briefly) exercises my cardiovascular system.

I follow a simple yoga sequence that takes me as little as two and a half minutes to complete (I timed myself, because I get pretty rushed in the mornings). If you’ve attempted any yoga at all (and don’t worry if you haven’t) you probably know this routine: the Sun Salutations. That’s it. I keep my morning movements that simple, because anything more complex is much too much to think about in the morning. Though sometimes the routine gets pushed to the afternoon… or the evening… or the next day. Whatever. As long as I keep doing the dang thing, somewhat regularly.

I also really like Sun Salutations because I can easily modify the amount of time I spend on a pose, or how deeply I want to push myself into a stretch that day. Even if I’m feeling exhausted, in pain, lazy or in a rush, Sun Salutations CAN STILL BE DONE.

Read on for the two and a half minute instructions. I will include the optional modifications at the end.

Set-up:

Clear enough floor space for you to lie on. Clear enough arm space for you to hold your arms out sideways completely straight. Keep this space clear at all times, so you don’t have to think about preparing a space before exercising. Yoga instructors will tell you to use a yoga mat. I say that’s adding one more step that’s unnessisary. Keep it simple, the more steps you add to this routine, the harder it will be to just do the thing. If you prefer the mat, sure, use a mat.

(Incidentally, this is how I decide if a space if livable. If there’s enough space for me to do my yoga, I can live there. If not, it’s way too cramped for me, and I will feel claustrophobic.)

(When I say floor, I really mean any flat space. Grass, patio, wood floor, carpet, packed Earth, rug, it does not matter as long as you have space to do your poses)

Steps:

Follow along with the diagram. Looking for more detail? Check this site out.

  1. Prayer pose. Breathe out.
  2. Raised arm pose. Breathe in.
  3. Head to knee pose. Breathe out.
  4. Equestrian pose. Right foot back. Breathe in.
  5. Plank.
  6. Salute with 8 limbs. Breathe out.
  7. Cobra pose. Breathe in.
  8. Mountain pose. Breathe out.
  9. Equestrian pose. Left foot back. Breathe in.
  10. Head knee pose. Breathe out.
  11. Raised arm pose. Breathe in.
  12. Prayer pose. Breathe out.
  13. Repeat steps one to twelve, but put left foot back first.
  14. Repeat steps one to thirteen.

That’s it. Once you remember the sequence, you can complete the sequence four times in under two and a half minutes.

Modifications:

  • I get really, really stiff in the mornings. For the first two sequences, I will hold each pose for five breaths, and well… I always throw a baby pose in too. Sometimes I stay in several versions of baby pose for over twenty breaths.
  • Pose modifications can be found here.

Thanks for reading. Now stop. Go salute the sun.

*Disclaimer: talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise. And for the love of Pete, don’t do anything that hurts you. If it hurts, modify the pose.

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