Ok, maybe you’ve all seen the trending hashtag #yogaanywhere making its way across Instagram and other social media channels. But now its time to break this hashtag down to its literal meaning and I’ll start by giving you a few yoga poses that you can can actually do anywhere. No mat, no studio, no problem. Get serenity when you want it.
It all starts with calming the mind and controlling the breath. Start this process by sitting on the floor, on your knees. Close your eyes and breath deeply, in through the nose and out through the nose. Try to make your breath audible and focus only on breathing in and out.
Slowly shift your weight to one side and swing the legs out directly in front of you so that you’re now in seated staff pose (dandasana). Place your hands on the ground at your sides, directly below your shoulders. Straighten the spine and lift through the crown of the head. Continue breathing in and out through the nose and feel this gentle stretch through the back of the legs.
From here, on an inhale, lift the arms up high over head and create length through the entire upper body. Drop the shoulders away from the ears and then on the exhale, fold over the legs and grab the feet, pulling the chest forward. Continue to breathe here, in and out through the nose, and on each exhale, stretch a little deeper. You are now in a seated forward fold (paschimottanasana).
After you’ve given yourself a nice forward fold, come back up to dandasana. Keep the left leg extended and bend the right knee so that the right foot is now next to the left thigh. Inhale and raise both arms overhead and on the exhale, bring the right hand to the mat behind your right side and wrap the left arm around the right knee, bringing the upper body into a seated twist (sukhasana). Try to take 5 or 6 deep breaths here and on each inhale, lift the upper body and twist a little deeper on each exhale. After you’ve completed the right side, inhale the arms overhead, straighten the right leg, bend the left knee and exhale the arms down, creating the same twist on the left side. Give this posture 5 or 6 deep breaths as well.
Downward facing dog (adho mukha savasana) might not be so easy without a yoga mat, but here’s a variation of this pose that can be done anywhere. To first measure the distance that you need for this pose, sit on the floor with your back against the wall and your feet straight out in front of you. Come to standing exactly where your feet were and face the wall. Place the hands directly in front of you on the wall and use the leverage of the wall to slowly bend the upper body just as you would in a normal downward facing dog. Breath here and unwind the shoulders.
Tree pose, otherwise known as vriksasana, is a great way to build balance, stability, and aid in concentration. So if you’re sitting at a desk all day or if you just find it difficult to concentrate, give this a try. Standing in mountain (tadasana) pose, bring your right foot to the inner left thigh. Be cautious not to place the foot on the knee. Root the left foot down into the ground as your tree trunk and square the hips. Keep the eyes locked on one non-moving place and loosen the muscles in the face, drop the jaw, and keep the gaze soft. On the next inhale, slowly raise the arms overhead to make a giant V shape, or bring them into prayer (namaskar) in front of your heart. Breath here for 5 or 6 breaths and then switch the the other side.
The last pose is great for any occasion, especially when traveling or sitting for long periods of time. To start, sit upright with the knees bent and the soles of the feet touching. Slowly bring the feet in closer to feel a stretch in the legs so that they are open, like the wings of a butterfly (badhakonasana). Keep the soles of the feet touching. Breathe here as long as you wish and when you’re ready, slowly close the legs and come to lying on your back. Then pull the knees into the chest and rock back and forth to release any tension in the low back.
Congratulations! You’re now officially ready for #yogaanywhere. Keep in mind that you can always come back to these postures in any location, so when you body is asking for a little stretch, just remember #yogaanywhere 🙂