7 Yoga poses that can be done ANYWHERE, ANY TIME! (No mat required!)
Nowadays there seems to be a thousand and one reasons keeping us from stepping on to our yoga mats. Am I right?
I’m sure some of these will feel familiar — running to and from meetings, catching up with friends, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, waiting in line for lunch or even just running five minutes late. Our days are filled with so many thoughts and things (to do) that we often allow life to take over, and consequently end up buried beneath a heap of chores, commitments and events, leaving almost no time for ourselves.
Or perhaps you have the time, but you don’t have the confidence to put on some thigh-hugging tights and “get bendy” in front of a room full of strangers.
Maybe money is a little thin and you’ll be lucky to afford your rent this week, let alone your yoga classes.
Thankfully, I’ve put together a few simple yoga postures that can be done almost anywhere, any time. So the next time you’re waiting for an Uber or for the bath to fill, have a delayed flight or are simply waiting for your dinner to defrost, try some of these postures and bring a little extra ZEN into your life!
1. MOUNTAIN POSE // TADASANA
Mountain Pose is the foundation of all standing postures. Which makes it sound difficult, but I pinkie-promise you it’s not!
- Stand with your toes together and heels slightly apart (or feet at hip-width, whichever is more comfortable).
- Rock gently forward over your toes and back over your heels until you come to rest in a place of absolute balance. Find grounding evenly between the four corners of your feet.
- Arms by your side, palms facing forward or toward your thighs. Roll your shoulders back, elongate your neck and imagine a line of energy running from the earth beneath your feet, all the way through the crown of your head. Bend your knees slightly to engage the legs, then roll your upper thighs slightly inward and lengthen your tailbone towards the earth.
- Soften your throat, relax your face and broaden your collarbone and shoulders.
- Soften or close your eyes, and connect to your breath. Stay in the posture for 30-60 seconds.
- Try to channel this balanced sensation in all other standing postures.
2. STANDING BACKBEND // ANUVITTASANA
Standing Backbends are great for alleviating back pain and tension, opening the chest and to help counteract the hunching that many of us do throughout the day. It is also a great preparatory pose for deeper backbends like wheel, camel or bow pose.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart in Mountain Pose, engage the muscles in your legs and focus on drawing your kneecaps towards the sky.
- Place your palms on your lower back.
- Inhale, open your heart space (allowing rib cage to expand), draw shoulders down your back and lengthen your tailbone towards the earth.
- As you exhale, begin to gently arch your spine back, only going as far back as feels controlled and comfortable. You can either continue to look forward and tuck your chin towards your chest, or if your neck allows, you can drop your head all the way back.
- Remain here for 3-5 breaths, continue to lengthen your spine and relax your face. (If you would like a deeper backbend, you can also actively reach the hands out above the head).
- When you are ready to exit the pose, inhale as you slowly roll your spine back to Mountain Pose. Stack your spine one vertebrae at a time.
3. CHAIR POSE // UTKATASANA
Chair Pose is great for building both physical and mental strength as well as being a heating pose for increasing your internal fire.
- Start in Mountain Pose, toes together and heels slightly apart.
- Inhale. As you exhale, slowly bend your knees as your raise your arms above your head (palms facing each other) and sink into your heels as if you are about to sit on the edge of a chair. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Your torso will naturally lean slightly forward over your thighs.
- Elongate the spine, focus on tilting your tailbone towards the earth and relax the shoulders, neck and face.
- Hold pose for 3-5 breaths.
- To release, straighten the legs as you inhale, and exhale as you release the arms back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Alternatively you can exhale as you forward fold over your legs by hinging at the hips and bringing your fingers to the floor.
4. TREE POSE // VRKSASANA
Tree Pose is great for cultivating balance emotionally, mentally and physically. It encourages single-pointed focus and provides a sense of grounding.
- Find balance and grounding in your Mountain Pose. Shift your weight onto the right foot, and when steady, take hold of the left foot and place the sole of your foot on the inner and upper thigh of your right leg. You could also place the heel on your ankle, or foot on the calf for a gentler/restorative practice. (Note: Do not place foot on the knee).
- Press the foot into the inner thigh and the inner thigh into the foot in an attempt to maintain the midline.
- Focus on lengthening your tailbone to the earth as you find a drishti (focus point), something steady ahead of you.
- Bring your hands together at heart centre (prayer hands in front of your chest). You could also bring hands together above your head, or open the palms up facing the sky. Whatever you feel is most comfortable!
- Square both hips toward the front of the room, and your left knee out directly to the side. Engage your core, zip your belly in and focus on pulling your shoulder blades down your back.
- If you want a REAL challenge, try closing your eyes!
- Hold pose for 5-10 breaths, solidifying your roots with every breath.
- Gently release your foot back to the earth and come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
- Repeat on the other side.
5. EAGLE POSE // GARUDASANA
Eagle Pose challenges your balance, cultivates focus, strengthens your legs and helps to stretch the hips, thighs and ankles.
- Standing in Mountain Pose, place your hands on your hips and gently sink into your hips and slightly bend your knees.
- Shift your weight onto your right foot, and slowly lift your left leg up and over your right thigh.
- If possible, wrap the toes of your left foot around the back of your right calf. Alternatively you can simply lift the leg up and over the right thigh and then lightly rest left toes on the ground for stability and balance.
- Find your drishti (single-pointed focus) and find stillness.
- Wrap your left arm underneath the right arm, and then wind the forearms around each other and place your palms together. Draw the shoulders down your spine, elongate your neck, broaden your chest, activate your core and lengthen through the crown of your head and your tailbone as you sink deeper into your right leg.
- Try lifting your elbows to shoulder height while being mindful to roll your shoulders down your back and away from the ears.
- Hold posture for 5-10 breaths then unravel back to Mountain Pose.
- Repeat other side.
6. GODDESS POSE // UTKATA KONASANA
Goddess Pose is such a powerful and energising pose. It allows us women to cultivate feminine energy, and connect to our inner Goddess. Goddess Pose is also great for stretching the groin and hips, toning and strengthening the legs as well as building heat and increasing circulation.
- Starting in Mountain Pose, step the feet out wide (about 1-1.5 metres) and turn your feet to face outwards (away from the body).
- Engage your core and tuck your tailbone under as you bend at the knees and sink your hips to the height of your knees.
- Roll your shoulders down your spine, and bring your hands to prayer at hearts centre (or any arm variation your prefer).
- Hold Goddess Pose for 5-10 breaths before gently releasing back to Mountain Pose.
7. STANDING FORWARD FOLD // UTTANASANA
Standing Forward Fold is great for easing lower back pain, cooling the body, calming the nervous system and improving hamstring flexibility.
- Standing in Mountain Pose, shift your feet to hip width. Grounding down evenly across your feet, inhale and bring your hands above your head, palms together, lengthening the spine. Then exhale as you slightly bend the knees, hinge at the hips and bring your hands toward the earth, folding your torso over your legs. Place your hands either on your calves, or on the floor beside your feet.
- Inhale as you extend the spine, and open your chest, lifting half way. Exhale as you fold back over your thighs and allow the arms to dangle softly toward the earth, without rounding your spine. Grab the back of your ankles, grab opposite elbows (ragdoll) or interlace fingers behind your back and gently bring your hands over your head towards the floor.
- Release tension in your neck and allow the head to gently hang. Nod your head yes and shake your head no to relax further. Knees should still be bent. If you would like a deeper stretch, begin to straighten the knees slowly, but activate your thighs by imagining you are bringing your kneecaps toward the ceiling.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths (or as long as desired). Then inhale as you slowly roll your spine back to Mountain Pose one vertebrae at a time.
Now you know the basics, you can do yoga almost anywhere, anytime! No excuses ;)
Love and light,
* Results from BAM may vary. Strict adherence to the program is required for best results.