De-stress in minutes with this yoga breathing exercise—watch the video here.
If you’ve taken any yoga class ever, you know that breathing is an essential part of the experience—yes, even that one dude in the back of the class who groans loudly on every exhale. “You’re likely practicing vinyasa yoga as we know it today,” yoga teacher Tess Koenig says in the latest episode of Good Moves. “And all that vinyasa really means is that you’re intentionally linking breath with your movement.”
There’s a good reason why you feel infinitely more chill by the end of a yoga class—breathing correctly helps you take in more oxygen and has a calming effect on your body and mind. Thanks to Koenig, you can now replicate that feeling at home with this calming yoga flow that focuses on breath work and simple moves.
Try this vinyasa yoga for beginners routine to feel calmer ASAP
Ujjayi breathing: Stand at the top of your mat with your feet together, keeping your knees soft. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly, then close your eyes. Take a few natural breaths, and take this time to feel your feet on the ground, and your breath moving under your palms.
Exhale completely, and take a deep breath in through your nose, then open your mouth, and breathe out. Repeat, but pause at the top of your inhale for a moment before breathing out. Do it again, but after you pause and hold your breath, take in a little more air before exhaling. Take another deep breath through your nose, pause, and exhale through your mouth.
For your fifth breath, breathe in through your nose, then exhale through your nose with your mouth closed. Repeat, but constrict your throat slightly on the inhale, then keep the air moving through your throat as you exhale again with your nose.
Mountain pose: Stay standing at the top of your mat, but move your arms down to your sides, palms facing forward. As you breathe in, move your arms overhead and see your hands touch. Exhale to fold forward. Breathe in to a half-lift, then step back into plank.
Cat/Cow: Come to your hands and knees for tabletop pose, making sure your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips. Press your palms into the mat to allow for optimal breathing. Inhale as you arch your back and look up. Exhale and round your back as you look down. Repeat two more times.
Downward facing dog: Inhale to a neutral spine, then tuck your toes and push your hips up and back into downward facing dog. Take a few breaths here through your nose, taking time to gently bend one leg and then the other to stretch them out a bit if you need. Inhale and lift your right leg. On your exhale step your right leg forward into a lunge.
Low lunge (right): Keep your hands planted on the ground or blocks. Breathe in with your chest forward. As you exhale, straighten your front leg and fold forward over it, bringing your chin and nose to your knee. Take a deep breath in, exhale, and fold a little deeper into the stretch. Inhale and move back up into your low lunge, then exhale and reach your hips up and back down into the stretch. Repeat one more time.
Downward facing dog: Step your right leg back and push your hips up and back into downward facing dog. Take a deep breath in and out. Inhale and step your left leg, then exhale and step it forward between your hands into a low lunge.
Low lunge (left): As before, keep your hands planted on the ground or on blocks. Repeat the same process as you did with the low lunge on the right side: Inhale, then exhale and straighten your left leg, folding over it into a stretch. Take a deep breath, exhale, and fold a bit deeper into the stretch. Inhale and move back into the low lunge. Repeat two times. Step back into downward facing dog and take a deep breath in and out. Then walk your feet to your hands. Bend your knees, put your hands on your hips, and stand up.
Finish by placing one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Take a deep breath in, and exhale.