Three Simple Yoga Flows You Can Practice Anywhere
I used to be a tennis player. I played for a Division I team in college. I was even a team captain my senior year and what that meant to me was that I needed to set a good example for my teammates. But my game had already been great and the things that made a difference were going on in my head rather than on the court.
I was lucky enough that my coach introduced us to yoga and it changed many things beyond my tennis performance for me. Maybe not instantly. But it definitely did looking back on it.
I came up with a few simple flows that instantly improved my performance, let that be on or off the court.
Start from mountain pose and with an inhale bring the shoulders up and back. Lower the shoulders with an exhale and so release all the tension from them (they tend to bear and show stress the most).
Second variation is to lift the your arms above your head, shoulders relaxed. With an exhale bring one of your arms back and the opposite in front, gaze at the back arm and follow its path, with an inhale meet above your head. Repeat on the opposite side and do as many repetitions as you like. Twists release toxins. Just make sure to intake enough water to flush them out of your system too.
The third is the most intricate of the three. Start from mountain grounding. Root yourself on one leg. Lift the knee of the opposite. Open up the hip and place the sole of the lifted leg either above the ankle, below the knee or on the inside of your thigh (make sure it is not pressing into the knee). Arms in prayer. Tree pose. With an inhale bring the knee back to the front and with the exhale place the knee to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side. If your practice level allows you, you can go into deeper stretches like half-moon or royal dancer. Then use either chair pose or mountain grounding to wrap the sequence.
Obviously, you don’t need to go to a studio to practice these. It is just what I learned from yoga and chose (mindfully or not) to apply to other areas of my life.
You don’t even need to call it yoga, those are just instances during your daily whereabouts where you decide to honor yourself. And boy, there are a lot of things to be proud of each day and accomplishments make us all feel good and give us strength to carry on the good work. Plus focusing on deep breathing and gentle stretching, or as called in yoga Pranayama, are intricately connected to happiness as shown by a study conducted at Oxford University.
Any time is a good time to honor yourself and you can simply do that by bringing the shoulders up and back, opening up the heart and giving yourself more confidence as you’re now leading with your chest.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Namaste.