Yoga is a practice where you can practice mindfulness, learn to tune into your breath, find challenge, and increase your flexibility and fitness — all of which are important to anyone at any age. And whether you’re five or 65, there are yoga exercises that are suitable for all ages and abilities.
Gather the whole family and try these five yoga sequences; you can perform them individually or back to back if you’re seeking a longer practice.
Sun Salutation A
This sequence is designed to get the body flowing and is a great way to begin your yoga practice. Feel your breath encouraging you to move: Inhales help to open and give you length, while exhales inspire bending and folding, and help to ground you down.
- Inhale: Standing tall, reach your arms up to the sky.
- Exhale: Lean your upper body to the right side, reaching your left arm to the right. Use your right hand to grab your left wrist overhead.
- Inhale: Reach your arms overhead while returning back to center standing.
- Exhale: Lean your upper body to the left side, reaching your right arm to the left. Use your left hand to grab your right wrist overhead.
- Inhale: Come through to stand tall at center, reach your arms overhead, and lift your heels off the ground for a moment of balancing.
- Exhale: Return your heels to the ground and fold forward, hinging from the hips. Take a breath or two here before repeating the entire sequence one or two more times.
Sun Salutation B
This sequence helps warm up the lower half of your body. Continue to use your breath as a guide to move your body.
- Begin in downward-facing dog: Start on all fours. Plant your hands out in front of you, about shoulder-width apart. Pike your hips up to the ceiling, forming an upside-down V-shape; press your heels toward the floor.
- Inhale into crescent lunge: Step your right foot between your hands to move into a high lunge and reach your arms high.
- Exhale into prayer twist: Bring your palms together and twist to your right side, toward your bent leg; lower your left elbow toward the outside of your right knee. Take a breath or two before returning to center.
- Inhale into sky archer: Unwind from your twist and begin to straighten your legs, pivoting to face the long edge of your space. Open your body into a big “X” shape stretching your arms and legs out to the sides. Let your left hand grab your right wrist overhead and lean backward, feeling a side-body stretch.
- Exhale: Slowly move back to center and bend forward, planting your hands in front of your feet. Step back to high plank, then lower to the bottom position of a pushup.
- Inhale into upward-facing dog: Straighten your arms while pulling your chest up to the ceiling and into a backbend.
- Exhale: Return to downward-facing dog.
- Repeat on the left side.
Balancing is a fundamental aspect of any movement yogis perform. It helps to build strength, stability, and core support — plus, it’s fun! These two balancing shapes will help you get started with this aspect of your practice.
- Tree pose:
- Stand firmly on your right foot and begin to glide the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right leg, bending your knee outward. Your left foot can plant anywhere from your ankle to all the way up to the top of your thigh. Avoid pressing your foot directly into your knee, as this can be jarring and uncomfortable. Opening your left knee, you’ll feel a stretch in your hips.
- Reach your hands up high and play with your balance. You could sway your arms side-to-side, or even try to lift your right heel off the ground if it feels comfortable.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Half-moon pose:
- From standing, bring your right leg forward and bend into a lunge. Reach your right hand forward, in front of your right foot. Slowly rise to straighten your right leg, keeping your right hand on the ground, while also lifting your left leg up and flexing your left foot. Reach your left arm up to the sky. Let it feel as though you are staking your shoulders, hips, and even your lungs as you expand your body in every direction. Hold for 5-10 big breaths. Bring your feet together, stand up tall, and repeat on the other side.
Yin is the portion of a yoga workout where you take time to stretch your body. This is important because it assists in targeting the deep, connective tissues between the muscles and fascia throughout the body. It also helps us regulate the body’s flow of energy.
- Inhale: Reach your arms overhead, gaze follows your fingertips.
- Exhale: Fold forward, hugging your body in towards your legs.
- Inhale: Bring your hands to your shins and lift your body halfway, having your torso parallel to the floor.
- Exhale: Plant your hands and step your feet to the back of your space, bending your elbows into a pushup.
- Inhale: Roll to the tops of your feet, straighten your arms, and feel a back bend in your torso (upward-facing dog).
- Exhale: Lift your hips and drop your heels, creating an inverted “V” with your body (downward-facing dog).
- Hold for as many breaths that feel good to you.
When you feel ready:
- Inhale: From downward-facing dog, look forward between your hands, adding a slight bend to your knees.
- Exhale: Walk or jump your feet to the middle of your mat/space and take a seat on the floor.
- Inhale: Bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your bent knees to open wide. Bring your hands to your ankles or shins and sit up tall.
- Exhale: Fold forward over your feet. Let yourself be nice and passive, feeling a stretch in your glutes, thighs, and lower back. Hold for at least 10 breaths.
- Inhale: Sit up tall and extend your legs forward.
Exhale: Lie all the way on your back, taking up as much space as feels good in your body.
Savasana symbolizes the end of your practice and helps the body reset while your previous movement efforts sink into your body.
- Lie on your back, taking up as much space as you would like.
- Close your eyes, giving way to gravity, and feeling the support of the floor beneath you.
- Notice the natural rise and fall of your breath.
- When you feel ready, start to deepen your breathing, and invite some easy, gentle movement into your body.
- Lift yourself up into a seated position, bringing your hands to your heart.