5 quick and easy yoga poses

1)   The shoulder stand  

This forward-bending exercise provides a main stretch for the shoulders, neck and upper back regions.  It’s meant to be massage and bring the level of activity in the thyroid gland to a normal level. It can also help to centralise the blood supply in the spinal column, stretch the spine and encourage deep abdominal breathing.  Mentally it can also help to relieve lethargy and feelings of sluggishness.

How to do it

Lay on your back and bring the feet together. Rest the arms on the floor, next to the hips. Keep the back, head and neck on the ground as you inhale and lift the legs up at a right angle. Push the body up and using the hands, continue this movement until you are resting on the shoulders. Straighten the back as much as possible and hold for at least 30 seconds, gradually increasing to 3 minutes before slowly lowering.

2)   The Forward Bend

This powerful asana can massage the abdominal organs, stimulate and tone the digestive organs, relieve compression of the spine and sciatica and strengthen the hamstrings amongst many other benefits.

How to do it

Sit up with the head, neck and back in a straight line, legs together. Inhale and stretch both arms over the head and elongate the spine before exhaling and bending forward, bringing the chest towards the thighs and grasping the ankles. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds before increasing to around 3 minutes. Repeat this 3-5 times, before releasing.

3)  Cobra 

The Cobra position provides a great stretch of the back as it arches the spine, increases flexibility, massages back muscles and stretches the thoracic region whilst expanding the rib cage. The mental benefits include focusing and strengthening your levels of concentration.

How to do it

Laying down on your abdomen, breathe deeply and resting your head on your arms. Legs together, place the hands, palm downwards on the ground beneath the shoulders. Imagine curling your upper body like a snake, as you push the chin forwards and slowly roll the body up, holding for at least 10 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly unroll. Repeat this position 3-6 times.

4)   The Tree

This asana is good for developing mental concentration, physical balance and single-mindedness of thought.

How to do it 

Standing up straight, balance the right foot against your left knee. Focus on a point straight ahead of you and releasing your hold on the foot, bring both hands together at your chest into a position of prayer.  Keeping your balance, extend the arms slowly above the head and hold for 30 seconds, gradually increasing to 3 minutes. Release and repeat.

5)  The Triangle

The Triangle has to be the most beneficial of all asanas as it improves all other positions which you may do. If you have no time to do any other position, choose this one as it helps assist flexibility of the hips, spine and legs as well as reducing and eliminating the pain in the lower back.  It can also help to alleviate anxiety and reduce mental stress.

 How to do it

Standing with your legs shoulder width apart, balance the weight of the body evenly on both feet.  Inhale as you bring the right arm up, stretching it as high as possible, exhale as you bend to the left. Slide the left hand down the left leg as far as you can. Breathe regularly for 30 seconds and gradually increase to 1 minute.  Return to the centre before repeating on the other side. Repeat the Triangle around 2-5 times on each side.

Follow these exercises regularly and you will improve your flexibility – it doesn’t have to take hours to see effective results! A little exercise and often can do wonders for your health and wellbeing.