There is no better way to start the day than by doing yoga. For champion mountain runner Emelie Forsberg, a regular morning yoga practice keeps her life in a balance.
A lot of people have the impression yoga takes an hour or 90 minutes. Not so – Emelie says a regular yoga practice can be short and sweet. A daily practice of 10 to 15 minutes is better than a once-in-a-while 90-minute class. Regular practice brings the results, she says.
Here are her 7 favorite poses. These can be done in a sequence in less than 20 minutes.
Easy seated: One to three minutes
"It’s nice to sit for a few moments before beginning moving just to feel the breath and the body. Simply cross your legs in front of you, and tune into your belly moving in and out with the breath."
Downward Dog: Five to 20 breaths
"I often come into this position even if I don´t do the sun salutations because it’s great for the hamstrings, calf muscles, and the upper back. It also works as a stretch for tight underarms."
"It’s like creating the shape of the letter “A” with the body. Spread the fingers wide, actively push into the hands, breath in and lift your butt up high. Try to distribute weight down evenly through the arms and legs."
Warrior 2: Five to 10 breaths each side
"This pose is great for developing strength in the legs and finding stability by keeping the hips in a balanced position. Align your feet so the front foot’s heel is in line with the arch of the back foot. Keeps the arms out at shoulder height and gaze out over the front fingers. For a more demanding session I hold it for 10 breaths on each side. Keep the front knee above the ankle, the back leg straight and the torso upright."
Triangle pose: Five to 10 breaths each side
"Nice stretch for the hamstrings and side body, and also works on balance."
Tree pose: Five breaths each side
"Here we test our balance, using the small muscles in the ankle and foot. Try also to keep a stable and long upper body, as well as ensuring relaxed shoulder blades while holding your arms above your head."
Boat pose: Five to 10 breaths
"Great for working on core strength. Sit on your butt, with the soles of your feet on the mat and your knees up. Sit upright, keeping your spine long. Then lift your feet off the mat, bringing them to knee height, while pointing the toes. Now, lean back carefully, keeping the spine long, and bring your arms forward so the hands are by the knees."
Pigeon pose: Three to 10 breaths
"Great for the glutes! If you’re feeling tired in the IT band, then this pose can really help. Stay here as long as comfortable and work with the breath to slowly (and carefully!) come lower down for deeper work. Be aware of any uncomfortable or painful compression sensations. It’s better to back off and approach this posture gradually over time."
All images by Matti Bernitz / Suunto
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