THE YOGA QUICKIE : 5 YOGA POSTURES TO DO ON THE GO BY SHONA VERTUE

The practice of Yoga is a commitment to stillness and much of its focus is based around understanding how to stop and take some time be tranquil, so the title of this article might seem a little contradictory.

The truth is we aren’t all yogis, and we don’t all have time for a 90-minute practice followed by a long meditation however, I staunchly believe that this doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that we can’t receive some of the benefits of yoga while on the go.

I live in London and catch busy tubes every day to get to and from teaching personal training sessions, I wake up at 6am and often don’t get home until 9pm. To get myself a quick yoga fix I often have to sneak off to the park in between appointments and on a really hectic day, I’ll just try to squeeze in some postures inconspicuously while waiting to buy a green juice (cold pressed of course).

I think that an important thing to remember is that peace is not the absence of noise and disruption, it is about being in the midst of all those things and still remaining calm in mind and heart. Practicing yoga-on-the-go can help you to develop true peace.

Below are my top 5 postures (starting with the very discreet and ending with all-out street yogi) to help you steal a little yoga quickie in when you can. After all – ten minutes of yoga every day is better than 90 minutes once every blue moon. Consistency is key to everything in life and the yoga practice is no different.

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1. Reverse Prayer (PaschimNamaskarasana):

This posture is so underrated, but can really help to refresh stiff shoulders and increase flexibility in a part of the shoulder joint that can be tricky to stretch otherwise. It’s so easy to do anywhere without getting odd looks from passers by.

Begin in a standing position.

Relax the shoulders and bring the arms behind your back and join the palms with fingertips pointing upwards.

It can take a little wiggling to get there.

If you’re not quite there, just take hold of either elbow behind the back and over time you will be able to move into this one.

Stay here for 3-5 breaths, encouraging the shoulders to relax.

2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana):

While this posture doesn’t give you much of a stretch, balance postures generate focus. They ground you back to the present moment because if you aren’t present in a balancing posture, you’ll fall out of it. I love a bit of this pose while waiting for the tube, or even on the tube if I’m up for a real challenge.

Start from a standing position with your arms on your hips.

Shift the weight to the left foot, keeping the left leg strong and supportive (a little squeeze of the left butt check will help).

Pick the right foot off the floor, reach down with your right hand and grab your right ankle. Place the foot either on your calf muscle, or above the knee at your inner thigh. Never place the foot on the knee.

Bring the palms back to the heart when you feel balanced.

Keep the lower belly lightly drawn in, lift the chest, relax the shoulders and feel as though you are lengthening towards the sky.

Fix your gaze at one point to hold focus and balance, alternatively for an added challenge, try closing your eyes while maintaining balance – get ready for tree in the wind pose.

3. Figure Four Pose: 

One of the biggest causes of lower back problems and pain are actually tight hips. Unfortunately we are now a very stationary society, and we spend a lot of time in chairs. This excessive chair sitting can create a lot of tension in the hips, weaken the core and cause your lower back to pick up the pieces. This kick stretch of the piriformis muscle can help alleviate that tension.

This pose begins much like tree pose.

Start from a standing position with your arms on your hips.

Shift the weight to the left foot, keeping the left leg strong and supportive (a little squeeze of the left butt check will help).

Hug the right knee into the chest. Pause here for a moment to find your balance.

Turn out your right leg and place the right ankle just above the left knee.

Begin to sit into the posture with a straight spine, bending forward from the hips.

Keep your chest extended and shoulders relaxed.

Bring the hands to your heart in prayer for added balance challenge.

4. Trikonasana (Triangle):

Oh this is absolutely one of my favourite stretches and postures of all time. It lengthens and releases both the hamstring and the side body, both areas that develop tightness and tension very, very quickly. The more you can release these areas the lighter you will feel. It’s not the most discreet posture to do in the tube, but if you have the space, it’s totally worth it. When I worked in an office I used to pop into the bathrooms to do this in between emails!

From a standing position take a wide step back, until your feet are over shoulder distance apart (and then some).

Turn your right toes out and the left toes inward at a 45 degree angle.

Extend your arms out to the sides.

Draw the belly in to brace your core, and then reach forward towards an imaginary horizon by hinging from the hip.

Tip your body downwards taking the right hand down to either rest on the right shin, or if you can do it without bending the legs or rounding the spine, take the right hand to the floor.

Keep the left arm reaching beautifully towards the sky.

Press both feet into the floor while reaching out of the head, and fingertips. You are radiating from every angle!

5. Natarajasana Dancers Pose:

Dancers pose is the least discreet of all postures but it does yield an amazing stretch and release for tight hip flexors, hamstrings, shoulders and chest. In addition to that almost full body stretch, because it’s a backbend, it also provides a huge energy kick! I think that makes it worth the moment of awkwardness when people check you out busting this pose on the streets.

Begin again from a standing position.

Shift the weight onto the left foot.

Lift your right heel towards your right buttock and grab the inside of your ankle with the right hand (note: make sure your externally rotating from the right shoulder meaning your inner elbow is pointing outwards).

Begin to tip forward, extending your left arm forward. Kick the right foot into the hand to create some activation through the leg and increase the back bend.

The main thing is that you have two opposing energies to keep your balanced. The reaching forward and the kicking upwards.You’ll feel it, it feels GOOD!

 

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