It might seem like there aren’t many silver linings to the coronavirus outbreak. But since you’re self-isolating anyway, what better time to start (or strengthen) your yoga practice? Staying in is no excuse to stop staying fit — or worse, put on the “quarantine 15” from binge-eating while binge-watching as you shelter in place.
Luckily, you’ve got plenty of options to stay active outside of the gym. Doing yoga at home can help you with COVID-19-related stress, repetitive strain and chronic pain from remote work, and quarantine-induced anxiety. From toning muscles and improving digestion to relieving back pain and stretching the spine, here are her picks—and tips—for 10 gentle and easy poses that are beneficial and fun to do every day.
Builds strength in the upper arms and opens the back, neck, chest, hips and shoulders; stretches the calves and ankles while strengthening the legs at the same time. Slows the heart and calms the brain while stimulating the nervous system and rejuvenates the whole body.
Fold into a forward fold, stretching while doing this, and move the right leg back to meet left leg; turn both feet to the front. Stretch fingers wide open on the floor, pressing away from the wrists and let the chest pull to the floor. Press heels to the floor and press sit bones in the buttocks to the sky.
2. Child’s Pose
A healing, restful pose that gently stretches the spine, releases the lower back and helps with digestion. It can be particularly soothing when you feel cold or anxious. In this pose, your head is lower than your heart, so you receive more circulation to the face, and when practiced regularly, it is very beneficial to your entire mind and body.
Bring your knees down to kneel on the ground; stretch arms in front of you and rest forehead on the ground.
This beautiful squat is one of my all-time favorite poses. Malasana releases the lower back, opens the hips, and turns the practitioner into a cute little nugget. Explore variations and tips on how to make this pose easier or how to go deeper.
Make sure to spin your heels in and toes out, as well as to widen your stance. If it irritates your knees to drop into a full squat, sit on one or more blocks.
4. Mountain Pose
It may seem like you’re, well, just standing there, but bear with us. This is the blueprint for all other poses. It promotes balance and directs your attention to the present moment.
Stand with your feet together or hip-width apart. Ground down through the four corners of your feet. Roll your shoulders away from your ears, draw your shoulder blades down your back, and lift the crown of your head.
This heating standing pose (give it a minute, you’ll feel the burn) strengthens your legs, upper back, and shoulders. As a bonus, you’ll have an opportunity to practice patience as your thighs work hard. Just remember to breathe.
Start in Mountain Pose. As you inhale, raise your arms, spread your fingers, and reach up through your fingertips. As you exhale, sit back and down as if sitting into a chair. Shift your weight toward the heels and lengthen up through the spine. As you inhale, lift and lengthen through your arms. As you exhale, sit deeper into the pose.
6. Tree Pose
This pose helps improve concentration and your ability to balance by strengthening the arches of the feet and the outer hips.
Start in Mountain Pose. Find a fixed point in front of you and stare at it to help you balance.
As you inhale, shift the weight into your left foot and lift your right foot an inch off the floor. Using your right hand, bring the foot to your shin or inner thigh. Avoid placing your foot directly on the knee.As you exhale, ground through the standing leg and lengthen through the crown of your head. Bring your palms to touch in front of your sternum into prayer hands.