International Yoga Day – which is Tuesday, June 21 – can be the day to start a healthy new habit.
The UN states on its website that “the essence of yoga is balance – not just balance in the body or that between the mind and the body, but also balance in the human relationship with the world. Yoga emphasizes the values of attention, moderation, discipline and endurance. “
Originating in ancient India, yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice, says the UN.
5-minute morning yoga routine
CNN fitness contributor Stephanie Mansour created this five-minute yoga routine to loosen up your body and start the day feeling calm, balanced and positive.
“As a certified yoga instructor for over a decade, I encourage my clients to participate in a daily yoga practice (preferably in the morning) to make the blood flow, increase energy and strengthen the senses,” she wrote.
“These positions are strategically included because they open up the body physically, improve blood flow to the vital organs and stretch the front, back and sides of the body in a short time.
“Eat all these positions with the pranayama breath: Inhale through the nose and out through the nose. Breathe slowly and consciously, and synchronize the breath with your movements.”
4 yoga movements before bedtime
You started the day with yoga. Another short session of four yoga movements can get you ready for a good night’s sleep.
“All too often, sleep avoids us because of the common ailments that make it difficult to fall asleep or wake us up at night,” said CNN contributor Dana Santas, a trainer for breathing, mobility and body and soul in professional sports.
“These exercises address the areas where we tend to feel that kind of pain and tension.”
Watch the video at the top of this story to release tension in the lower back, hips and gluteal muscles.
Yoga tips from an NFL star
Finally, when you think of yoga, you may not think of rough ‘n’ rugged NFL stars. But Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Mike Daniels has found that yoga works for him. Santa talked to Daniels about how he developed the habit.
“I started doing yoga after my fourth season in the NFL, and went into my fourth year. I felt very stiff, and one of my teammates said I had to start practicing yoga. He gave the instructor number, and after the first session , I immediately saw results.
“When I finished, it was like a body awakening experience,” he said.
Perhaps the words of one of yoga’s best practitioners, the late BKS Iyengar, will inspire you:
Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong date for International Yoga Day.