5 Must Do Yoga Postures for Impossibly Busy DaysLuke Coutinho
Oh! I have a busy day ahead.
I am traveling!
The holiday season is here!
It is Diwali week! It is Thanksgiving! It is Christmas week!
I have social commitments!
The year is ending now!
These are some of the excuses we come across in our day-to-day practice as yoga experts. Physical activity is an area of lifestyle that is conveniently put on the back burner the moment life gets busier. It is a commonality we have noticed across several clients over the years of coaching.
Why is this? Reasons could be many, but one of them is that most of us still go by the concept of 1 hour of workout to sweat it out. So, on busy days when getting in an hour-long workout seems impossible, it is easily skipped.
Would we skip brushing our teeth on busy days? No, right? Then why skip giving your body something as basic as movement?
Sounds overwhelming? Hang in there.
Let us first rewire some of the concepts around workouts. Know that workouts can be as short as 15 minutes and do not have to last for an hour to be effective. Yoga too can be one of them! Yes, you read that right. When hard-pressed for time, try to squeeze in the following five yoga asanas in your routine. These are simple, engage your entire body, recruit every single muscle, and take minimum time.
Even better? Throw this as a challenge and engage your friends and family too. So, each of you can work as accountability buddies for each other.
Why yoga over modern workouts on busy days?
While it is true that any type of workout is great if you enjoy it, we vouch for traditional Hatha yoga practice because it is the simplest way to connect mind, body, and soul. It is the best way to let the energy flow in your body. Also, the effects of yoga on the body and mind are long-term. It can positively affect you physically, mentally as well as emotionally.
5 Yoga asanas we recommend on busy days –
Here are five simple yoga asanas that can activate every muscle and charge you up inside-out. These asanas will boost your metabolism, tone your body and work as a functional activity.
Aim to do each of these for a minimum of 15-20 secs in a set of two (considering 1 count is 1 second).To simplify and enhance your practice, you can use props like yoga blocks and bolsters. Once you complete your session, aim for at least a minute of Shavasana to relax and calm your body down before you unfold the day and get busy with other errands. To simplify and enhance your practice, you can use props like yoga blocks and bolsters. Once you complete your session, aim for at least a minute of Shavasana to relax and calm your body down before you unfold the day and get busy with other errands.
Adho Mukho Svanasana ( Downward Facing dog pose)
This simple pose activates the core muscles, upper and lower body. It also works as a great stretch after a long day at work. Remember, to draw your attention towards your core throughout the asana. It will also improve your spine and hamstring flexibility and will help to perform better in other asanas.
- Sit in Vajrasana.
- Get on your palms and knees to form a table pose (back forms the table-top and your hands and feet from the legs of the table).
- As you breathe out, lift the hips, straighten the knees and elbows and form an inverted V-shape with your body.
- Hands are shoulder-width apart, feet are hip-width apart and parallel to each other and toes point straight ahead.
- Press your hands into the ground. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms.
- Hold the downward dog pose and take long deep breaths. Look towards the abdomen, Exhale.
- To release the pose,-bend the knees and return to the table-top pose. Relax.
Focus areas: Feet, calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes, core, lower back, scapula, shoulders and palms
2. Utkatasana or Chair pose
The yogic squats or chair pose is all about functional strength and activates the entire body. A stable Utkatasana looks extremely calm. The moment you go into this pose, you need to use all your core energy to maintain the posture, activating all the muscles.
- Stand straight with your feet slightly apart (shoulder-width).
- Stretch your hands to the front with palms facing downwards.
- Do not bend your elbows.
- Bend the knees and gently push your pelvis down as if you are sitting on an imaginary chair.
- Ensure that you keep your hands parallel to the ground or raise it above your head without folding the elbows.
- With awareness, sit straight and lengthen your spine. Relax.
- Sink deeper into the chair by gradually going down but ensure that your knees don’t go beyond your toes.
- To release the asana, gradually straighten your knees, and put your palms back to their original place.
Focus areas: Knees, Thighs, glutes, core, lower back, scapula, and triceps
3. Tadasana or Palm Tree Pose
This pose is more like a lazy man’s stretch and most of us have done this pose unknowingly! This pose also engages your entire body, starting from hands, shoulders, elbow to sore, knees, calves, ankles, and toes.
- Stand straight and keep some distance between your feet.
- Hands should be by the side of your body.
- Now, as you inhale raise both the arms upwards
- Raise your heels and stand on your toes (beginners can avoid this step until confident).
- Feel the stretch in your body from feet to fingers.
- Hold this position and focus on breathing
- Make sure you fix your gaze at one point in front of you to be able to balance. Keep your spine straight.
- Now while exhaling, release the pose and stand straight.
Focus points: Toes, ankle, calf muscles, glutes, core, spine, and shoulder muscles , triceps
4. Trikonasana or Triangle Pose
Triangle pose supports and strengthens the lower part of your body, mainly your legs. The side bend activates hips, groins, hamstrings, calves and spine. As you open the chest and shoulders, it helps open up your chest, which in turn improves your oxygen capacity. Engaging your neck and spine in the pose helps to improve posture. The stretch on the abdomen aids in digestion as well.
(Pic Pending – need to confirm who clicked it)
- Stand straight. Separate your feet comfortably wide apart (about 3 ½ to 4 feet).
- Turn your right foot to 90 degrees and left foot in by 15 degrees.
- Now align the center of your right heel with the center of the arch of your left foot.
- Ensure that your feet are pressing the ground and the weight of your body is equally balanced on both feet.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend your body to the right, downward from the hips, keeping the waist straight, allowing your left hand to come up in the air while your right hand comes down towards the floor. Keep both arms in a straight line.
- Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the waist. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left palm.
- As you inhale, come up, bring your arms down to your sides, and straighten your feet.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
Focus points: Feet, inner thighs, Shoulders, arms, oblique muscles, glutes, calf, and neck
5. Upward Dog Pose or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
This asana is the foundation pose for the entire body. It is a powerful backward bend that allows your spine to relax, opening the chest and abdomen. While you engage your hand and legs in this posture, it helps tone muscles around this area. It is a beautiful and must-do power pose on a daily basis as often our head is tilted downward as we stay glued to our phones laptops and this is a great counterpose to release neck tension.
- Lie down on your stomach and spread your legs an inch apart with toes rested on the mat.
- Place your hands on the floor next to your lower ribs. Point your fingers to the top of the mat.
- Inhale as you press through your hands firmly into the floor. Straighten your arms, lifting your torso and your legs a few inches off the floor. Remember to keep your knees off the floor. Try to balance body weight on palms and toes.
Press down firmly through the tops of your feet. Strongly engage your leg muscles to keep your thighs lifted off the floor.
- Keeping hands as it is, lift your chest toward the ceiling, push your shoulders back and your heart forward and tilt your head upwards. You can keep the head in a neural pose if looking up is challenging.
- Your thighs should be firm and turned slightly inward. Your arms should also be firm, slightly turned so that each elbow crease faces forward.
- Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds. To release, exhale as you slowly lower your hand and body back to the mat.
Focus points: Neck, chest, lower back, core, thighs, glutes, wrist, and feet
Final Thoughts by our Yoga Experts:
Yoga experts at Team Luke recommend doing each of the above asanas for the quick full-body workout. Spend about two minutes per asana and add a break between each set and asana. Be stable in the final posture and focus on breathing as well as the part of your body engaged in the asana because energy flows where attention goes. For a more personalized approach and gaining a deeper understanding of which yoga asana or pranayama suits you and your health condition, you can book a one-on-one consultation with the expert and have your yoga practice defined. You can connect with our team at email@example.com or call on 18001020253 to book yoga sessions.
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