I started yoga at a time when I was feeling most stressed in my life. I had just moved house with a huge mortgage to get our children into good secondary schools in the are and soon after we did that, I lost my job.
I used to get up very early in the morning before the rest of the family and watch my yoga DVD (a Jerry Hall yoga video) and it would set me up for the day, feeling clam and energised. I was ready to take on the world!
I became so familiar with the routine and the postures that even when I was away I was able to practice on my own. I became a full-time consultant and some of my work involved travelling and staying overnight in hotels. I took my yoga mat wherever I went and would clear a space in my room to practice my yoga in the morning and evening. I often found it hard to sleep in hotel rooms and missed my family. The yoga helped me to relax and sleep really well.
I had 7 favourite poses that I used in my routine :
Adho Mucha Svanana (Downward Dog)
All head down postures help to clear and quieten the mind. This one in particular has this effect instantly. It also helps to stretch the back and legs releases tension in the spine.
Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
This powerful side stretch opens up the hips, inner thighs, lengthens the neck and lifts the chest. The whole body experiences an opening and lengthening.
Triangle helps to open up the inside of the armpits, chest and outer hip. Pulling the diaphragm in on both the inbreathe and outbreath strengthens the abdominal muscles and develops core strength and vigour.
Virabhadrasana2 (Warrior 2)
Powerful pose to energise and strengthen the whole body and mind. The spine is erect, whist the arms and legs open to their maximum.
Uttanasana (Forward Bend)
This beautiful stretch of the back and legs works the muscles on the inside of the legs, lifting the inner angles and arches of both feet. The lifting of the chest and collar bones releases muscle tension in the lower back and stretches the hamstrings. The whole body releases and relaxes into the stretch.
I love this elegant balancing pose. It is simple yet effective in helping to stretch the whole body and spine and make you focus and concentrate
Janu Sirasana (Head to knee pose)
My favourite sitting posture. The whole of the spine is allowed to release into a side stretch. At the same time the inner thighs are opening and stretching. I feel my mind shutting off to the outside world for a few moments whist I recoil and gather my energy and focus inwards.
These 7 postures should take you no more 15 minutes, less if you wish or more depending on how long you wish to stay in them. The combination of the dynamic opening postures and the folding closing postures create a nice balance and help you fell both energised and calm.