12-minute morning yoga routine for beginners
Let’s start by bringing yourself to the front edge of your mat. Place your hands together in a prayer pose and start noticing your breath for a couple of seconds.
Raised arms pose
Inhale while reaching your arms out and up, and lift your palms up in a raised arms pose. Arch your back, look up to your thumbs and slide your shoulders away from your ears.
Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso – to come into a forward bend. Keep your chest lifted and your back straight.
From here place your fingertips on the floor beside your feet. Now try and flatten your palms on the mat.
You can place your hands on blocks if they don't reach the floor when your legs are straight. Or bend the knees a little if that feels more comfortable.
Take 2 to 3 deep breaths.
Inhale, lifting your head as you come to a flat back, coming onto your fingertips or place your hands on your shins, whichever allows you to get your back as flat as possible. Practice within your own comfortable range.
Now exhale and walk your feet back to a plank position with your hands shoulder-distance apart. Make sure you spread your fingers and press into the palms while keeping your arms straight.
Tuck your tailbone under so your legs, hips and torso are one straight line, and keep your chest up. At the same time engage your shoulders and core.
Keep your head forward and looking downwards, so it’s in line with your spine. Extend the back of your neck and pull your tummy muscles up towards your spine.
Now tuck your toes and press the heels back. Aim for a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
Inhale and try to focus on your breathing for 10 to 30 seconds.
Knees, chest and chin
Exhale and lower your chest and chin down to the floor, with your shoulders directly over your hands. Keep your hips lifted and your elbows close to your ribs.
Take a deep breath, as you come forward into a low cobra.
Anchor your pelvis and the tops of your feet to the floor and lift your chest off the floor. Try not to press into your hands as you come up into this mild backbend.
Draw your shoulders back and down and gaze up without overextending your head.
Upward facing dog
On your next inhale, roll over your toes to come into an upward facing dog position.
Bend your elbows out to the sides and bring your shoulders down and away from your ears. Then straighten your arms. Make sure your legs are straight and your knees are lifted off the floor.
Stay in this position while focusing on your breathing for 10 seconds. If you feel any discomfort in your back or wrists, return to cobra pose.
Downward facing dog
Breathe out and move back to a downward facing dog position.
Keep your hands under your shoulders and your fingers widespread.
Move your hips up and back and start off with the knees bent so you can work on lengthening your spine. Try and straighten one leg at a time.
Hold this pose for at least 5 to 6 full, long breaths.
Exhale. Step the right foot next to the right hand and then bring the left foot to join it in a standing forward bend pose.
Inhale and move back up to a flat back, and then exhale back to a forward bend.
Inhale again and lift your arms out to the sides and up.
Raise your arms over your head to come together or with the palms facing each other.
Exhale and come back to mountain pose with your hands in a prayer position.
On your inhale, roll your shoulder blades back and open up your chest.
Step your left foot back towards the end of your mat to come into a Warrior I position.
Bring the left heel to the floor and turn the toes out, to about a 45-degree angle.
Bend your right knee so it comes over the ankle. Try and keep the position of your hips the same as in Mountain Pose.
As you inhale, bring your arms up and over your head.
Now stay here for 6 long breaths to deepen the stretch in your upper leg, thighs, tummy area and arms.
Next, let the right arm come forward and the left arm go back for the Warrior 2 position. You can lengthen your pose as you open your hips to face the side of the mat.
Make sure that your right knee is still quite bent over the right ankle.
Check that you can still see your right toes on the inside of your right knee.
Engage your quads and sink the hips a little lower as you exhale.
Breathe in and out 5 to 6 times.
Now come into a Reverse warrior pose by inhaling and raising your right arm over your head.
At the same time let your left arm slide down your left leg. Try not to rest all your weight on the left leg.
Breathe out and let the front knee stay deep as you go for a nice big side stretch. Inhale and as you exhale expand and extend the stretch.
Take the head back a bit and look up at the fingers of your left hand.
Stay in this pose for 5 to 6 deep breaths. Focus on your breathing and your balance.
Warrior poses on the other side
Now bring the right foot back and as you inhale bring your arms up and over your head for Warrior l. Let’s stay in this hip and shoulder opener pose for several breaths.
Breathe out to let the left arm come forward and the right arm go back for Warrior II.
From Warrior II pose bring your right hand down to rest on your right leg.
Inhale and lift your left arm up towards the ceiling and reach your fingers up and away from each other.
Keep your left knee bent, pressing into the feet with the legs strong.
Sink your hips down towards the floor and relax your shoulders.
Next inhale as you bring your feet together and come back to mountain pose.
As you exhale gently move to downward facing dog.
Then come up to your hands and knees when you’re ready. Gently push your hips back toward your heels.
Separate your knees slightly wider than your hips while keeping your big toes together and form a V shape with your legs.
As you exhale, lay your torso down between your thighs, lay your hands on the floor next to your torso, palms facing up and release the fronts of your shoulders towards the floor as you rest your forehead.
Stay in this pose for 2 breaths or longer.
Gently come back to your hands and knees.
Keep your shoulders directly over your wrists, and your knees should be directly under the hips.
Curl your toes under, and when you inhale, draw your shoulder blades away from your ears.
Lift your chin and chest and lengthen your spine forwards.
As you exhale, uncurl your toes, round the spine and pull the belly button up.
Repeat this pose three times while focusing on your breath.
Next lie down on your back with your knees bent. Move both knees to your left and let them touch the floor. Allow your right shoulder to melt down and breathe deeply.
Now switch to the other side and hold for a couple of breaths on each side.
Pull your knees up to your chest and give yourself a tight hug. You can also separate your knees wide and hold on to the sides of your feet in a happy baby pose for a couple of breaths.
For your final move extend your legs straight and let them naturally rotate open. Face your palms to the ceiling, lengthen the back of your neck, and close your eyes.