You're seven days into 2016; how's that resolution holding up? Been hitting the StairMaster hard? Or are you still nursing that NYE hangover? Whatever, Rome wasn't built in a day! No matter where you are in making right on your New Year's resolution, almost everyone can benefit from incorporating a bit of yoga into their daily routine. When Victoria's Secret Angels, celebs, and that Instagram model you can't stop stalking are all swearing by a workout, you know it's legit. As if lean-as-hell legs and arms weren't reason enough to start embracing the yogi life, even the littlest bit of yoga each day will have you reaping benefits like reduced stress and mental clarity
. Got ten minutes? You know you do. All you need to get started is a mat, comfy clothes, and enough space to stretch out. We were lucky enough to practice at the picturesque Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, but just about any place that allows you to zen out for a bit will work.
Make your first foray into the yogi world by taking a stab at these six poses. Some you'll be able to do right away and others you'll need time to master---yep, that's exactly why it's called a practice.
Tree pose is the most beneficial posture for grounding yourself and connecting to the Earth. Start by placing your foot either above or below your knee (never on it, you don't want to compromise the joint). Once you're balanced, breathe deeply. If this one comes easy to you, close your eyes for an added challenge.
Dancer (AKA the pose you probably see the most on Instagram) is great for opening up your chest, bending your back and practicing stability. It also takes a lot of patience---even seasoned yogis struggle with this one. To start, make sure your standing leg is grounded and reach for the foot of your free leg with your hand facing outward. Kick your foot into your hand, and reach forward with your free arm at the same time to create balance.
For the girls who sit at a desk all day--full wheel is your pose. Inverting your head lower than your heart allows for blood to flow where it normally wouldn't, and the stretch is perfect for releasing tension in your arms, hands and abdominals. This posture is also insanely reenergizing. It's the perfect way to start your morning or beat a mid-afternoon slump. If you're new to yoga, start by trying a supported bridge pose (laying down with your feet flat, arms at your side and lifting your hips) first, then work your way up to full wheel.
Get 'dem abs, girl. When it comes to working and toning your obliques, it doesn't get much better than side plank. Begin by stacking your feet sideways, then press through your grounded hand and lift your hip toward the ceiling. If you're feeling strong, float your upper leg as seen above. Don't forget to breathe in and out through your nose.
Chat-a-whatta? Chaturanga. If you've taken a yoga class before, you'll recognize this as the flow-y part that follows a completed series of poses and takes you back to the starting point. Similar to a push-up, you'll start in a straight arm plank, then lower yourself until you're hovering just above the ground. Activate your abdominals, flex your knee caps, and of course, breathe---it's the only way you'll survive, as a typical yoga class consists of roughly 20-30 of these bad boys.
Once you feel comfortable with the above poses, try your hand at an advanced variation of Chaturanga. Same rules as above apply, only this time you'll lift one leg on the way down to add more weight to the "push-up" to test your balance and flexibility. Wanna know a trick? Keep your gaze forward. It'll help you to keep your hips and chest aligned properly.