Energize Your Body and Brain With This Beginner 15-Minute Yoga Sequence
When an afternoon feels stressful, yoga is some of the best medicine! You don’t need to step out for an hour or 90 minutes to reap yoga’s amazing benefits. This quick midday session will help you calm down, get focused, and amp up your energy. It’s one of the best things you can do for your body when there’s just 15 minutes to spare.
| Standing Forward Bend
Standing Forward Bend looks like it’s all about relaxation, but you will feel a deep and intense stretch in your hamstrings and upper back.
- Begin standing up straight and tall at the top of your mat.
- As you exhale, engage your abs to fold forward with a straight back. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders, and extend the crown of your head toward the floor to create a long spine.
- Shift your weight forward onto your toes, trying to straighten the legs as much as possible. If this feels uncomfortable, allow your knees to have a little bend so you can focus on releasing your back.
- Place your hands on the ground, fingertips lining up with your toes.
- Hold here for five breaths.
| Downward Facing Dog Pose
Downward Facing Dog is an active pose that always helps to calm a busy mind during the day. Focus on deep, full-body breaths to release your legs and get the most out of this pose.
- From Standing Forward Bend, place your hands on the floor, and step back to Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths.
| Warrior 1 Pose
Warrior 1 Pose sets a strong foundation for the rest of your practice.
- From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in, press into your feet, and lift your torso up.
- Lift your arms up, and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips, and gaze up at your hands.
- Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog, step your left foot forward, and do Warrior 1 on the other side and end in Downward Dog.
| Warrior 2
Warrior 2 will open up your tight and tired hips. Breathe deep, and stick with the pose even when it starts to burn! You’ll feel alive and invigorated right after.
- From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward between your palms, and come back to Warrior 1.
- Extend your arms out into T position as you rotate your torso to the left, coming into Warrior 2. Ideally, your front thigh should be parallel to the ground and your right knee directly over your right ankle. Make sure your shoulders are stacked directly above your pelvis.
- Gaze past your right fingertips, holding for five breaths. Then place your hands on the mat, and step back one foot at a time to return to Downward Facing Dog. Step your left foot forward, and do this pose on the other side.
| Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
This Wide-Legged Forward Bend works to stretch tight shoulders and hamstrings while waking up the whole body.
- From Warrior 2, turn your front foot in toward the body, and interlace fingers in a fist behind the back.
- Inhale to engage your abs and pull the hands away from your shoulders. Exhale to fold at the hips, keeping the legs and spine straight.
- Hold for five deep breaths, trying to lower the hands toward the floor. Then slowly roll up, stand at the front of your mat with both feet together, and step back into Downward Dog.
| Double Pigeon Pose
Sitting all day leads to seriously tight hips, so this hip opener is a midday must for anyone who deals with pesky lower back pain.
- From Downward Facing Dog, bring your knees to the mat, and come to a seated position. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your knee, shin, and foot on the floor so they’re parallel with your pelvis. Bend your right knee and place it on top so your knees, shins, and ankles are stacked. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.
- To make this pose more intense, place your hands in front of your shins and walk them out as far as you can, folding your chest toward your legs.
- Stay here for five breaths, then slowly rise up and switch legs so your left knee is on top.
| Butterfly Pose
Stretch out a tight back and hips as you turn inward in Butterfly. Don’t be concerned about bringing your nose to your feet. Instead, stop yourself from hunching over and do your best to keep proper form with a flat back.
- Release Double Pigeon, and sit with your legs long in front of you, slightly shake them out to release the back of your legs and your hips, then come back to a seated position with your feet together.
- Using your hands, open your feet up like a book, pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you.
- Stay here for 10 breaths.
| Half Wheel
Half Wheel works to open the shoulders as well as the muscles in the front of the body. If your practice has a Full Wheel, feel free to take that instead.
- From Double Pigeon, come to lie on your back. Bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your tush, and turn your heels out slightly, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
- Lift your hips up, and place your hands on either side of your lower back. Rock your weight from side to side, so you can pull your shoulder blades closer together.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, actively pressing your feet into the floor to lift your hips up and increase the stretch in your torso and neck.
- Gently lower your bum back to the ground, and hug your knees into your chest.
Before you jump back into your responsibilities for the afternoon, take a few moments to relax and breathe deep in Savasana. Your body thanks you in advance.
- Lie on your back, and close your eyes. In order to relax and open your body fully, extend your arms a few inches away from the body, with your palms facing up.
- Bring about 15 to 20 inches between your feet, allowing your feet to fall open with your toes pointing out. Actively shrug your shoulders and shoulder blades down toward your hips. Lengthen through your spine as much as possible, and try to press the small of your back into the floor.
- After you’ve found a comfortable position, enjoy the stillness for five breaths before waking up and heading back into the day.