Yoga is an excellent option for lengthening and strengthening the body and for helping to calm and quiet the mind. As a certified yoga instructor for over a decade, I’ve been using yoga daily not only to de-stress but also to help my muscles and body, and in general, to feel good. I also encourage my clients to incorporate yoga into their fitness routines as a way to stretch after a workout.
Whether you do this yoga routine daily or just for fun, you’ll reap the benefits of feeling more relaxed, energized, peaceful and calm.
Starting off with a fun core and balance exercise will keep you and your kids entertained! Sit on your butt facing each other. Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground. Hold each other’s hands so that your arms are fully extended. (This is how you’ll know how far away from each other to sit.) Then, slowly lean back and pull your abs in. Lift your knees and feet up, and eventually extend your legs up so that your feet are touching. You’re balancing on your tailbone, and holding onto each other’s hands with tension for support. Hold for 3 slow, deep breaths, and then release.
Back-to-Back Chair Pose
Now it’s time to stand up. Face away from each other and stand with your backs touching. Slowly bend your knees at the same time, and walk the feet forward. Use the pressure of pressing your backs against each other to support you as you walk your feet away out in front of you. Eventually, walk your feet out into a 90-degree angle so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are over your ankles. Reach your arms up into Chair Pose, and pull your abs in. Keep pressing your backs into each other, and press down through your heels. Hold this for 3 slow, deep breaths, and then slowly come out of the pose.
Stacked Plank Pose
Time to get down onto the floor. For this pose, the first person comes down onto hands and knees before going into a plank position. That person lines up their shoulders over their wrists, and pulls their abs in. Then they step into plank pose, reaching their heels toward the back of the room and stretching the crown of their head toward the front of the room.
If you’re the second person, you’ll place yourself over your partner’s lower legs, straddling their legs at the knees. You’ll place your hands outside of your partner’s feet, while your partner is on their hands and knees. Next, you’ll press down into the ground with your hands and step your right foot back and place the top of your foot flatly onto the right side of your partner’s upper back. Your toes should be reaching toward your partner’s ears.
Then you’ll bring your left foot up to the left side of your partner’s upper back. With your feet on your partner’s upper back, you’ll then press into the ground and bring one hand onto your calf and then the other hand onto your other calf. Hold this for 5 slow, deep breaths, or for as long as you can. To get out of this pose, the person on the bottom can gently lower to their knees and then the person on top can remove their feet and hands off of the bottom person.
Stand next to each other. Prepare for the Warrior 2 position with the outer edge of your back heel touching your partner's back heel. Your and your partner’s front legs will be bent with the toes pointed forward. Your knee should track over your front foot. Press down firmly through both front and back feet, and extend your arms out at your sides to come into Warrior 2.
Then, reverse the Warrior by reaching your arms that are closest to each other down the back of your front leg, and reach your front arm up and overhead. The front arms will reach so far overhead that you’ll touch hands. Keep the front knees bent and the back legs straight. Hold this for 3 slow, deep breaths. Then, set it up for the other side and repeat.
Wide Leg Forward Fold
Sit on the ground facing each other. Scoot back so that you can open your legs and have the bottoms of your feet touch. Flex your feet and press your feet into each other. Reach forward and hold on to each other’s arms as you slowly fold forward over your legs. Depending on how flexible you are, you can walk up your partner’s arms to fold further. Drop your chin towards your chest. Take 3 slow, deep breaths here, and then release.
Partner Tree Pose
Lastly, stand side by stand next to your partner. Use the leg closest to each other as your standing leg. Press down through the standing leg’s foot. Turn the other leg out to the side and place that foot on the standing leg’s ankle, calf, or upper inner thigh. This is the lower body’s form for tree pose. Then, wrap your arms that are closest to each other around each other’s shoulder, and press your free hand toward the center, so your hand is palm to palm with your partner’s hand. Hold this for 3 slow, deep breaths. Focus your line of sight on something about 3 feet in front of you (make sure it’s something that’s not moving) to help with balance. Press on your joined hands for balance, and press down through the standing leg’s heel.
This yoga routine is a good one to add to your everyday practice. Plus, it gives you a new activity to do with your partner or it can be a fun series of yoga poses for kids after a long day!
Stephanie Mansour is a health & fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. She hosts “Step It Up with Steph'' on American Public Television. Join her complimentary health and weight-loss challenge here! Stephanie is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, Pilates instructor, professional life coach, and has her BA in Communications with an emphasis on Women's Studies and Psychology from the University of Michigan.