Looking to stretch out all that unwanted tension from another month of endless zoom calls? This 10 Minute Yoga Flow with Kiri Rayner is just what you have been looking for.
This pose opens up into the hip flexors and the quadriceps, which are areas that get specifically tight when we sit down for long periods of time. From a forward fold, step one foot back, lower the knee and flatten the foot. Take care to bring your front heel directly under your knee and press into it as you come upright. Interlace hands behind your back, squeeze shoulder blades together and as you open your chest, drop the hips forward. Stay here for 3-5 breaths on each side.
Take this backbend really gently to begin with so that you can check in with the lower back. Press hands into the Earth just under your armpits and slowly lift the head, shoulders and chest. Take an inhale on the way up, an exhale to lower. Encourage the shoulders away from the ears here and don’t lock out the elbows. Lifting and dropping three or more times.
From lying on your tummy, take one forearm to the ground under your chest and the other hand back to catch the foot. Gradually draw the foot in to gain an opening through the front of your thighs and hips. Press front forearm further into the ground and lift the chest to deepen the stretch. If the foot is too far away, use a strap (or an old t-shirt) to loop around the foot and guide it in. Make sure the hips stay square to the mat. Take 5 deep breaths on each side.
activating the core muscles is a great way to wake up the body and build strength around the spine. Keep the gaze down in between your hands, draw belly button to spine and press your hands into the ground to feel a rounding through the upper back. Take 3-5 breaths or more here if you’d like to heat up the body.
Downward facing dog
This classic yoga pose does wonders for the strength of your shoulders, as well as opening up the backs of the legs and bringing some blood flow and fresh energy to the brain. Press down into the knuckles of your fingers and send your sit bones high to create length through the spine. 5 deep breaths here, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
To find child’s pose, come on to all fours, take the knees wide, the big toes to touch and guide the hips back to your heels, whilst reaching the arms out forward. This restorative pose allows you a moment to drop the forehead to the ground and breathe easily. Let the belly expand towards the mat with no resistance. Stay here until you feel a sense calm wash over you.
Come to a comfortable seated position, get long through the spine and simply drop the chin to the chest. Guide the chin to either shoulder to stretch the back of the neck. Take this very slowly and spend as long as you’d like exploring how this feels.
Take a cushion under your bottom to find length through your spine and close off your eyes. Remove any external distractions and drop into the sensation of your breath. Inhale through the nose for a count of 5, hold for 5, exhale through the mouth for 5 and stay empty for 5. Repeat this a minimum of 3 times to rebalance your nervous system and allow yourself to feel a sense of calm. Remember to take your time and not to rush.
Once you’ve finished the breath-work part of the 10 Minute Yoga Flow, take a moment to get still and recognise any subtle changes in the body and/or mind from the start of this short practice. Flutter open the eyes and thank yourself for making the time.