Try This WFH Yoga Workout For Beginners
If you’re going crazy pent up at home, can't hit the gym and don’t have enough room or the equipment for a full-on workout at your place, this workout is for you.
Working with Gianni Melwani, the co-founder of Hong Kong boutique wellness studio Ikigai, we’ve created a fun yet challenging 10-step yoga workout for you to try out at home. All it requires is a little floor space. Don’t fret if you don’t have a yoga mat or any equipment—we’ve substituted them with a book and a blanket.
So if you’re ready to get the blood pumping and stretch out those muscles, let’s get started!
"This exercise works to strengthen your wrist extensor. Because we’re typing all day, our wrist flexors are really strong, but our extensors are weak, so this exercise is going to help you strengthen your forearm.
"First you need to make a fist with your hands, keep the knuckles together and try to keep a posterior tilt in the pelvis as you lower down into a push-up, locking the elbows as you come up. Try to do about eight reps of this exercise."
"For this one, have your feet hip-width or slightly wider than hip-width apart and ground your feet into the mat or the floor—the pressure shouldn't be just in the heel or toes, it should be throughout the entire foot. Then you press into the floor, lifting the hips up. Make sure you really engage the quads and the glutes, roll your shoulders back and down and try to have your chin touching your chest.
"This is a strengthening pose, and it especially focuses on the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and quads. You can do about three to five reps of this and hold it on the last rep, or you can just hold the pose for about 30 seconds."
Child's Pose and Thread The Needle
"Start with your knees wide, sink your hips back and reach your arms forward. This should be a relaxing pose, so you shouldn’t be pulling or stretching too much. Then rest in that position for three to five deep breaths before taking one hand and reaching out to the opposite—which is what we call ‘threading the needle’, because you’re threading your hand under your body.
"You can either do five reps on each side by continuing to reach out and come back, or you can just stay in the position for three to five breaths."
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"For this pose you need to have one foot in front of you at a 90 degree angle, and your back foot behind you, also at 90 degrees, while facing the front foot. Inhale as you come up and exhale as you go down and forward. Make sure to focus on lengthening your spine throughout the exercise, though when you are exhaling and leaning forward you can have a slight arch in your lower back. Do this for five reps, and on the fifth one you can hold the pose lower down."
Tip "You can also put a block (or a book) under your front foot to elevate yourself if you’re leaning too much to one side, as you don’t want to be shifting to either side."
"Put the soles of your feet together, interlace your fingers and wrap your hands around the front of your feet. You can bounce the knees up and down for about 30 seconds, and then inhale while lengthening the spine then exhale. Then you can either round or curl your back while folding forward to get your head closer to your feet, or you can keep the lower back arched as you lower down, bring the elbows close together and into your belly and, instead of trying to bring the head down, bring the chest forward in front of you.
"This exercise works to stretch your groin and hip flexors while strengthening the glutes and the lower back, and it’s a really good hip opener."
"Go into a squat while leaning into either the left or right side. Make sure to straighten the opposite foot, flex your toes and engage your straightened thigh. Next, slowly sink into the leg that's bent, hold that position for ten seconds and shift from left from right. Do that for ten reps."
Tip "Make sure you stay low to the floor. You can use your fingers for support if you need to."
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Low Lunge With Arm Rotations
"Come into a low lunge, have the forearms on the floor and, depending on what leg is forward, hold the opposite hand up and open the chest out to the side. Let the back leg stay relaxed and allow the front leg to open up—the heel doesn’t need to be on the floor. This exercise gives you a really nice stretch through your abs, femur and thighs."
Tip "Try not to shrug the shoulder towards the neck and chest."
"You can use a folded blanket under your shoulders for support, and then roll or kick yourself up and into a shoulder stand. Make sure the back of your head and the shoulders are both on the floor, keep the elbows close to the body and roll the shoulder blades in together. Make sure your hands support your lower back, and try not to flare your elbows out to the side.
"You can have your feet stacked over your shoulders for a little bit more of a strengthening pose, otherwise, to make it easier, you can slightly shift the weight of your feet over your head, which will help counterbalance that. Either way, keep the toes slightly engaged; pointed or flexed, it doesn’t matter. And remember, the whole point of this is to close your eyes, relax and allow the blood from your feet to flow into the upper part of the body."
Advanced Level "You can intensify the pose and get a little bit more of a stretch in the spine and the hamstrings if you lower the feet over your head as much as possible. You don't want to shift the weight onto your neck, so keep your shoulders on the mat the entire time."
Lateral Twist Of The Spine
"Using the photo as a guide, take your left foot and step it over your right knee, have the sole of the right foot on the floor. Lengthen the spine, put your left arm behind you for support. Have the right forearm grab the left knee, inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and twist to the left side."
Tip "Every time you exhale allow the body to open up and relax."
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"Start on your knees and place your hands out in front of you. If there's any pain in the wrists when your hands are on the ground then you can externally rotate your fingers out to the side. Next, inhale and arch the lower back while bringing your awareness to your spine the entire time. You can look up but make sure there is no pinching in the neck, then you want to exhale while rounding and hunching the back, get your belly to your spine, push the floor away with the shoulders and inhale and repeat."
Ikigai is closed until May due to the mandated closure of all gyms and studios in Hong Kong. In the meantime, you can follow along with one of Ikigai's pre-recorded free classes or book a livestream.
- Photography Affa Chan