Yoga isn’t just a one-trick workout pony. Don’t get us wrong, we love its restorative effects – and, with hectic schedules and high-intensity workouts (think Zumba and Crossfit) dominating our lives, it’s probably something we should be doing more of. Read on to find out what this ancient practice has to offer and how just 15 minutes of yoga every day can benefit you.
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‘Yoga is a great way to calm down – even a short session can help to reduce stress, increase blood flow, and clear our minds – and with so many styles to choose from, it’s also a full fitness programme offering strength, flexibility and cardio too,’ says Lucy Edge, yoga advocate, author and self-dubbed ‘yogipreneur’.
These revitalising 15-minute yoga sessions, created by Lucy, are a great addition to your regular workout routine. ‘They will help increase focus during a busy week, prevent injury by strengthening and lengthening muscles safely, and are worth a dozen sit-ups when it comes to targeting your core,’ says Lucy. Sounds like a no-brainer to us!
15 minutes of yoga: Here’s your one-month plan
Here’s a breakdown of the different 15-minute yoga sessions you’ll be doing:
Sun Salutation A – If you’re looking for flexibility
Mountain Pose: Stand with feet together, back straight, arms slightly away from your sides.
Raised Arms Pose: Inhaling, stretch hands above head, fingers pointing up and palms together, lengthening through your spine.
Forward Fold: Exhale to a forward fold, bending knees if needed. Inhale.
The Plank: Exhaling, jump or walk back to a plank, lower to your mat.
Upward-facing Dog: Inhale, palms beneath shoulders, raising hips off the floor, stretching head and neck gently upwards.
Downward-facing Dog: Exhaling, tuck toes under and bring hips up to form an inverted V. Take three breaths. Look forward and step to the top of your mat.
Sun Salutation B – If you’re looking for strength
Like Sun Salutation A, but you’ll just be adding two new poses for strength and endurance.
After Forward Fold, exhale as you bend knees, as if lowering into a chair, sitting back to see your toes. Keep your spine long and reach through fingertips. Draw shoulder blades back and down.
Warrior 1: After Downward-facing Dog, inhale, turning left foot 45° and stepping right foot to the front of the mat. Exhale, squaring pelvis and sternum to the front of the mat. Bend right knee to 90° (in line with middle toe). Reach arms above head, lifting rib cage and opening chest.
Return to Downward-facing Dog and repeat on the other side.
Return to the front of the mat for Raised Arms Pose and Mountain Pose.
Read more: 8 ways yoga can help you lose weight
Moon salutation – If you’re looking for relaxation
As Sun Salutation A, but you’ll be adding one new pose and a breathing exercise for a calming effect.
Equestrian Pose: After Forward Fold, exhale and step back with right leg, lower knee to the mat. Hold head up, raising hands above head. Repeat on the other side.
Alternate nostril breathing: Sit comfortably. Use your right thumb to close right nostril; inhale through left one. Close left nostril with your right index finger. Pause. Exhale through the right nostril. Then inhale through right nostril; close it with your right thumb. Pause. Open left nostril and exhale. Repeat the cycle 5 to 10 times.