1. Come to the mat and kneel with your knees about hip width. Gently lower your chest to your things and your forehead (third eye) to the mat.
Beginner Tip: sitting on a cushion or yoga block will make this pose a little easier.
2. As you lower your forehead to come to rest upon the mat, slide your hands rearwards towards your feet, with your palms facing up.
3. Take long, slow, deep breaths, feeling your back broaden. Let go of all your stress and feel your body becoming heavy.
4. Continue for roughly 20-30 seconds and then rise back up.
5. A variation of this pose involves stretching your arms out in front of you with your palms facing down on the mat.
2. Cat Cow Pose
The Cat Cow Pose is great for opening up the spine, stretching your tummy muscles and helps to align breathe with body.
It not only offers relief from an existing lower back pain but will also increase the flexibility of your neck and shoulder.
1. It’s important to begin with the correct posture: shoulders directly over wrists, and hips over knees.
2. On your inhale, drop your navel towards the mat, take your shoulders back, open up across your chest and gaze up towards the sky.
3. As you exhale, begin to arch your spine, draw your rib cage in, lengthen your tail bone towards the ground and drop your head.
4. Inhale back to Cow, Exhale back to Cat.
Top Tip: Use your toes by pressing them into the matt for Cow. Release them for the Cat by pressing the tops of your feet down into the mat.
3. Downward Facing Dog
From your Up-Cat pose, we’re now going to transition into Downward Facing Dog – ideal for decompressing the spine after a night lying in bed and stretching your hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendon.
1. Ensure that your toes are still tucked under. Keeping your knees slightly bent, lift your hips towards the sky.
2. Engage your thigh muscles to straighten your legs and draw your heels down to the floor.
Beginner’s Tip: To make this easier, try ‘walking the heels’ one-by-one to straighten your legs. Otherwise, it’s okay to keep your knees bent and focus and lengthening your spine.
3. Refine your pose by making sure your wrists are parallel to the front of your mat, spread your fingers and press down with your knuckles into the mat. As you do so, draw up through your palms to create a cupping action, a technique known as Hasta Bandha.
4. Don’t hunch your shoulders but roll them away from your ears and relax your head and neck.
Note: Rather than hold this pose static, continue to walk your heels and create some fluidity within your pose.
4. Rag Doll Pose
This pose is a variation of the forward fold which helps to intensify the stretch in your upper back.
It also compliments the Cat Cow pose as it lengthens your hamstrings and calves.
1. From Downward Facing Dog, walk your feet towards the edge of your mat. Space your feet wide so the outside edges of your feet are close to the sides of your mat.
2. Gently clasp your elbows and keeping your knees bent, relax your neck and allow your head to hang heavy. Allow gravity to exert its gentle pull as you sway from side to side.
3. Remain in this pose for as long as is comfortable before we transition into our next pose…
5. Cobra Pose
The Cobra Pose is perfect for opening up your chest, shoulders, and abdomen as well as relieving stiffness in your lower back.
1. You can come into this pose from a plank position. Exhale and slowly lower yourself down to the mat.
Beginner’s Tip: Your fingertips should be in line with the front of your shoulder and the tops of your toes pressed into the mat.
2. Roll your shoulder back and gently press your elbows into your torso. Inhale and press down with your hands and at the same time, send your chest forward and skywards.
3. Lift your chest without using your arm strength into a low cobra position at first by engaging your lower back and butt muscles. Hold for 5 -6 seconds and then lower yourself back to the mat.
4. Pressing down with your pelvis, tops of the feet and thighs and now more so with your palms, continue rising your chest even further. Even in the highest position, don’t straighten your arms as this pushes your shoulders forward and diverts the stretch away from your chest. Rather, keep your elbows tucked into your sides and shoulders back.
5. Hold for 5 or 6 breathes and then very slowly lower your torso back to the mat.
6. Low Lunge
The low lunge is one of the best yoga poses for stretching tight psoas muscles and relieving tension in your thighs and hamstrings.
1. From either Downward Facing Dog or the Cobra Pose, exhale and step your right foot between your hands. Ensure your right knee is stacked over your right heel.
2. Lower your left knee to the floor and slide your left foot back feeling the stretch in your quads and groin.
3. Sweep your arms outwards and upwards until they’re perpendicular to the ground whilst lifting your torso upright.
4. Direct your gaze upwards, tilting your head back but be careful you don’t crank the back of your neck. Stretch your fingers towards the ceiling and hold for 5 – 6 deep, controlled breathes.
5. To release the pose, exhale and lower your chest back to your right thigh. Repeat on the other side.
7. Triangle Pose
The triangle pose will provide a mild twisting stretch whilst strengthening your leg muscles.
1. Stand with your feet roughly 3 feet apart with your right foot pointing out at 90 degrees, left foot at roughly 45 degrees. Keep your pelvis and chest pointing forwards.
2. Inhale and raise your arms upwards so they’re parallel to the ground. Lengthen your right arm by sending your hips to the left, exhale and bring your right hand down to hold your right shin.
3. As you bend, make sure you pivot from the hips and without collapsing your waist which should be kept as straight as possible.
4. Tuck your tailbone in, lift your heart up, and raise your left arm towards the sky. Slowly tilt your head to the left so your gaze settles on your right thumb.
5. Breathe deeply and hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable and then release. Now make sure you perform the pose on the opposite side of your body.
8. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose continues the spinal stretch begun with the Triangle Pose.
The gentle compression provided by the rotation, aids digestion, eliminates waste and massages your internal organs.
Great if you suffer from digestive issues.
1. From a seated position, bend at your knees bringing your feet onto the mat, then slip your left foot under your right leg so you’re resting the outside of your left thigh on the floor.
2. Step your right foot over your left thigh, exhale and gently twist towards the right. Place your left upper arm across your right thigh close to the knee, and your left hand firmly on the mat behind you.
3. Pull your abdomen into your right thigh. Continue the twist by turning your gaze to the right.