Author: Francesca - Mr Lee's Team
There are many different ways of winding down: watching your favourite series, cooking a delicious dish, baking a delectable cake, listening to a music playlist or going for a long walk. One that has become more popular over the last number of years in the West is yoga.
At Mr Lee’s we believe that eating well and nourishing your body properly is essential, but we also recognise the importance of physical and mental wellbeing. Optimal health encompasses many aspects and like a puzzle, the pieces all need to fit together in order achieve our health goals.
No matter your age, weight or fitness level, yoga is a discipline which strengthens your body and calms your mind. This practice has numerous benefits; from improving strength, flexibility and muscular movements and helping with pain relief to protecting you from injury and having benefits for heart conditions. It also supports mental health by improving sleep, boosting energy and mood and helping manage stress.
"Yoga leads us back to our True Self and in this current time of challenges and uncertainty developing a yoga practice invokes a deeper embodied sense of self and inner peace. The movement of the body synchronises with the rhythm of the breath and we allow ourselves to embody the space and stillness within us all" Lucy Baldwin, Yoga and Meditation Teacher
Starting yoga as a beginner can feel quite intimidating and it might be difficult to know what to do first. To celebrate International Yoga Day, we've asked Lucy to provide a short routine for beginners. The Sun Salutation is the best way to get started with this ancient Indian discipline. The sequence covers a number of postures giving the body a really good stretch!
Remember to wear comfortable clothes which will allow you to stretch properly and to use a non-slip mat. Starting slow and not rushing, taking your time to learn properly and trying not to compare yourself to others is essential. Finally, find a quiet place and remove all distractions in order to create a calm space.
Stand up straight on the front edge of your mat with your feet together and with your hands in front of your chest as if you were praying.
Exhale whilst you do this. Breathing is very important in this sequence, each movement will be carried out with either an inhalation or exhalation.
Whilst inhaling, stretch your arms up joining your palms above your head and arch back lifting your gaze to the ceiling and pushing your hip out. Try to keep your legs straight.
Exhale and bend forward over your legs and press your palms down on the floor, with your fingertips in line with your toes. You can bend your knees slightly if you don’t reach the floor or wrap your arms around your knees if this makes you more comfortable.
Inhale again and stretch your left or right leg back and place your knee on the floor. Arch back and lift your gaze to the ceiling.
Whilst still retaining your breath, get into downward facing dog position, drawing your hips up and your heels pressed back.
Exhale and first lower your knees to touch the floor, follow this with your chest and lastly your forehead. Keep your hips up and your toes curled under.
Inhaling again, lower your hips to the floor so that both your pelvis and legs are touching the floor, point your toes out and lift your chest off the floor and bend back.
Whilst exhaling, push back to the downward facing dog position. It’s important to keep both your toes pointed towards the front of the mat and your heels need to be touching the floor.
Inhale and step forward with one of your legs between your hands. Rest the other knee on the floor and lift your gaze up.
Exhaling bring the other leg forward and bend down from the waist just as you did in Step 3.
Inhaling, stretch your arms forward and up and arch them back over your head going back to the position in Step 2.
Finally, exhale and slowly go back to an upright position as if you were praying.
This is a great yoga sequence for beginners and perfect to incorporate into your morning routine as it boosts your energy and activates you, making you ready for the day ahead.
Maintaining a regular yoga practice and combining it with a healthy diet, selfcare and physical activity and remembering to always be kind to yourself can greatly boost your quality of life and inner peace.