A 15-Minute Yoga Flow To Try When You Need Some Stress Relief
Welcome to mbg moves! We've been working out at home more than ever lately—and we know our readers are, too. To help keep your fitness routine feeling fresh, we're releasing a new at-home workout every Monday to start your week off strong. Each month will feature routines from a different incredible trainer we adore. Now, let's get moving with our spotlight trainer: Emily Chen.
If you've been feeling stressed, out of sorts, or even a bit burnt out recently—you're certainly not alone. Luckily, yoga is a wonderful tool in these challenging moments. In fact, research indicates this mind-body practice supports mental health and may even ease symptoms of depression1.
That's why I put together this 15-minute yoga flow that's all about turning your attention inside, filling up your own cup, and finding a sense of ease. We'll move through a series of juicy stretches and restorative poses, all meant to help you tune in to what your body needs, and take a break from the stress of the world. I advise doing this flow to draw your attention back inside and restore a natural state of well-being.
Your 4-week challenge: This month, I've shared four different yoga routines you can do from home. Each one is designed to help you tune in to your body, connect with yourself, and find a sense of peace. I encourage you to make these routines part of your weekly workout schedule as often as you can (you can do this quick flow every single day), but aim for at least two to three times a week.
- Time: 15 minutes
- Equipment: A yoga mat.
- Instructions: Move through each pose or stretch slowly, one after the next. Hold each pose for a couple of breaths, or take as much time as you need.
Knee Hug + Hamstring Stretch
- Start by lying down on your back.
- Hug one knee into your chest, then extend the same leg and pull it toward your body.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Cross-Legged Forward Fold + Side Stretch
- Come into a cross-legged seated position on your mat.
- Fold your torso over your legs, stretching your hands out long.
- Then, move your arms to the right side of your body for a nice stretch.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Start in a seated position on your mat.
- Bring your hands behind your neck.
- Gently pull your head forward, to give your neck a nice stretch.
- Come back to start, and allow your head to drop back, cradling your head in your hands.
Downward Dog + Hip Opener
- Start in a tabletop position on your mat.
- Inhale as you lift your hips up high, coming into a downward-dog position.
- Ground down through the soles of your feet and your hands, allowing your hips to be the highest point.
- Lift your right leg, bend your knee, and open up your hip.
- Return to start, and repeat on the left side.
- From downward dog, reach your right foot up to the sky.
- Bend your knee and bring it in line with your right arm. Bring your right foot to the left side, and allow your shin to rest on the ground.
- Bring your back leg down to the mat, and lift your chest.
- Hold for a breath, then slowly lower your torso to the ground so it folds over your right leg.
- Allow your torso to fall over your front leg.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Seated Spinal Twist
- Come down to sit on your mat, crossing your legs.
- Inhale your arms up to the sky. Take your right arm, place it on the mat behind you, and place your left hand on your left knee. Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, twist the body, gazing over your left shoulder.
- Hold for a couple of breaths, then come back to center. Repeat on the opposite side.
Seated Forward Fold
- Come into a seated position on your mat, with legs stretched out long (bend your knees if needed).
- Stretch your arms overhead, then hinge at your hips and allow your arms to fold over your legs.
- Hold for a couple of breaths.
- Come into a seated position on your mat, bring the soles of your feet together, and allow your knees to fall to either side.
- Place a yoga block under your lower back and your head, and allow your body to lower down.
- Let your arms relax overhead, and hold this position for as long as you need.
Emily Chen is a dedicated yogi and has been practicing and teaching yoga for the last eight years. She is the founder and lead teacher of Alchemy School of Yoga, a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training school. Formerly, she taught at leading NYC yoga studios, developed and led teacher training programs, mentored students, and programmed, hired and managed the yoga studio for a fitness start up. Emily was born in Panama and is ethnically half-Chinese. Now she splits her time between NYC and Florida.