Time always seems to escape us when we plan to exercise or even make space in our minds and bodies to relax. Yoga’s well-known poses such as the sun salutations or surya namaskar in its entirety can sometimes be a challenge to commit to, particularly if busy mums (and dads!) are managing a host of work and household responsibilities. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled a few basic but effective yoga poses that can be done anytime – in between diaper changes or even while on a conference call.
Dancing warrior (Sanskrit name: Natarajasana)
Stand with feet hip width apart, lift the left (or right leg) with the left hand (or right hand) and lean forward as you kick the floating leg away from your buttock. That allows you to open and stretch the shoulder (arm) holding the floating leg. Extend the other hand forward to counter the balance. Your gaze is calm, while you look at a point, either on the wall, or even at the corner of a photo frame. This is a balancing pose that strengthens your standing leg and ankle. As in all balancing poses, core strength is require to hold the position. You improve focus as balancing poses require concentration and calmness. This will be beneficial to your daily routine at work or as a parent.
Downward facing dog (Sanskrit name: Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
To get into the pose, get down on all fours making sure your shoulders are above your wrist lines and knees under the hips. Tuck in your toes and lift your knees up and push the hips towards the ceiling and to the back of your mat, giving your back and spine the lengthening effect of the pose. A wonderful yet simple pose for tired backs as it stretches the back completely while engaging the core. It is a simpler inversion as you improve circulaton when the head is below the hips. This rejuvenates your facial muscles and brings more oxygen to the brain. Hold for ten to 20 seconds, and up to three minutes if you’re up to it. Rest lying on your back.
Easy pose (Sanskrit name: Sukasana)
As the name suggests it is an easy pose but for some tight hips this may be slightly challenging. Sit on a block or blanket to elevate your hips, ensuring that it is higher than your knees, to ease up on the hips. Sit against a wall for back support, or free form in the middle of the room. The legs are crossed under you. Pay attention to how that feels on your ankles as well. A simple but effective pose to improve hip flexibility. This is also perfect to instil calmness if you can sit here for 30 seconds to a minute.
Seated twist in sukasana
While you are already in sukasana or easy pose, feel free to take it to a simple twist. This encourages flexibility in the back and releases tension particularly in the lower back. Start by placing the left hand on the right knee. Place the right hand behind you on the mate or a block, as you look to the back across the right shoulder. Twists like these help improve digestion and detoxification as you massage your colon area and liver to improve circulation. When circulation is improved in those organs, it helps improve its function expelling the toxins from your body. If you’re feeling a little bloated at the abdominal area, repeat this pose several times to help with that. This pose can be done seated on the floor or on a chair.
By Susan Tam
Susan Tam is a certified yoga instructor with over a decade of yoga experience, certified under the 450 training hours programme organised by the Malaysian Association of Yoga Instructors (MAYI). Her prenatal yoga instructor certification is qualified by Surya Yoga’s 20-hour intensive training programme. She and partner Joanna Audrey are offering prenatal yoga classes at Fitology Bangsar, every Saturday at 230pm. Find their practice here.
Photos by The Dusun
For other yoga-related articles, you can also read Stretch, Open, Breathe: 5 Yoga Moves to Alleviate Pregnancy Back Pain and Prenatal Yoga Myths, Debunked.