Spring is here which means it’s time to ditch the layers, shake off the winter blues and get moving. Manual Osteopath Liza Egbogah has a workout routine that will be sure to get you into shape in just five minutes.
It’s all about consistency with this workout and doing it every day. We all know that there are tremendous benefits that go along with a regular exercise routine such as less pain, better overall health, improved mobility and an improved mood, and this routine does just that.
So, how will these poses help?
These five yoga poses are proven to target all major stabilizer muscles in the body that you would typically focus on in the gym, which lead to better posture, improved appearance and less stress on the body. Each of the poses in this session help to increase endorphins which are the natural feel good chemicals in your body. They also help to reduce cortisol levels – which is the hormone associated with stress. Because the routine also helps to improve your posture it means that you will have lasting positive effects on your mood beyond the 5 minute routine. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of good posture can improve your mood while 20 minutes of poor posture is enough to leave you feeling down.
Bow Pulling Pose
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
- Try to keep your torso relatively upright and reach back with your left hand and grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle so that your finger tips are on the outer part of the ankle.
- Begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso and kick it towards the ceiling. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
- Stay in the pose for 20 to 30 seconds. Then release the grasp on the foot, place the left foot back onto the floor, and repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
This move opens up the chest and hips which has been proven to reduce cortisol [stress hormones] levels meaning you’ll feel better and also helps to improve your posture.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide and palms down.
- Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Line up the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
- Extend your torso to the right directly over the right leg, bending from the hip. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Turn your head it to the left looking up at your left hand.
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.
Triangle pose is so intense that it acts as a cardiovascular workout. It takes work from a large number of muscles and some serious balance to hold this pose which results in a serious calorie burn. You’ll really feel the sweat. You’ll also come out of it feeling better and more aligned.
Head to Toe Pose
- Bring your feet together and raise your arms above head. Interlock your fingers and release the pointer fingers [steeple grip]. Step your right leg out about 4 feet towards the right. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and do same with torso, hips, arms, and head.
- Rotate left foot in about 45 degrees to keep hips squared forward. Tuck your chin into your chest while maintaining straightened arms and legs. Round down from the hips until your forehead touches your right knee. If your hamstrings or back is tight you can bend your right leg until your forehead touches the knee.
- Keep your arms and left leg straight, and if you need help balancing, separate your hands and place them on the floor. Keep your forehead on the right knee making sure your hips are square to the floor. Try to hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat on left side by turning once to face forward and then turning again to face left leg
This pose is great for boosting metabolism and improving your mood. By compressing your thyroid when you bring your head to your knee, you are stimulating it and improving your metabolism. The rush of blood to your head is also great for your mood while the overall stretch helps to create alignment.
- The plank is one of the best core workouts you can do to improve your posture. Since you are working many of your large stabilizer muscles with this exercise you are also getting a cardiovascular boost.
- Start from standing and then bring your hands to the ground in front of you. Inhale and draw your torso forward until the arms are perpendicular to the floor and the shoulders directly over the wrists, torso parallel to the floor.
- Press your outer arms inward and firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Firm your shoulder blades against your back then spread them away from the spine.
- Press your front thighs up toward the ceiling, but resist your tailbone toward the floor as you lengthen it toward the heels. Your back should be flat like a plank board.
This pose engages your abdominal muscles for a serious burn. Try to stay in the plank for 1 minute.
- Kneel down on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Round your upper back while pressing your shoulders forward and looking down. This is your starting or cat position.
- Pause, then slightly arch your back while looking up towards the ceiling to a slow count of 5. Return to starting position and repeat 5 times
Cat camel is a great mobilizing pose that will help reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins which are feel good chemicals in your body. It will also help correct an anterior pelvic tilt posture [where your stomach sticks out] from too much time sitting.