On the 15th of May we hosted a Yoga Session for our students in Manchester, led by Janine from Manchester Yoga Rooms. Organised with the Mental Health Awareness week in mind the session provided the perfect opportunity for our residents to unwind after all the exams and deadlines.

For those who couldn’t make it to our session, worry not cause we’re here to show you 5 easy poses that you can start doing today, right from the comfort of your halls to feel fit, healthy and relaxed. (All instructions as advised by ekhartyoga.com)

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

  • Step your feet wide apart, about the length of your leg.
  • Turn your right foot 90 degrees so the toes point to the short edge of the mat, and turn the left foot in about 45 degrees towards the right.
  • Distribute weight evenly over the four corners of both feet, lift arches and inner ankles up.
  • With straight legs, lift your knee caps drawing the top of thighs up and back, roll the right thigh out so the right knee is in line with first two toes.
  • Lengthen through both sides of the waist, draw you lower belly in and up. Inhale and lift your arms parallel to the floor, extend through to the fingertips as you exhale.
  • Inhale and reach to the right extending your body over your right leg, shift your hips towards the back of the mat and exhale as you bring your right arm down, placing your hand where it reaches, either on the leg, foot, the floor or a block outside the foot.
  • Point the left arm straight up to the ceiling, hand in line with your shoulder, palm facing forwards.
  • Keep as much length in the left side waist as in the right, rotate your ribs to the ceiling.
  • Lengthen through the sides of the neck, keeping your neck in line with spine. Look straight in front of you, or tuck the chin slightly and turn to look up toward your left hand.
  • Keep your face relaxed and breath gently as you keep pressing through the feet, extending through fingertips and lengthening through the crown of the head.
  • To come out press your feet firmly into the floor, inhale and reach your left arm up to the ceiling as you come back to standing straight.
  • Pivot your heels so you reverse the orientation of your feet to the other side and repeat on the left.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  • Start from all fours (on hands and knees), bring your right knee forward and place it more or less behind your right wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. The more your lower leg is parallel with the front of the mat, the more the harder the stretch.
  • Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Make sure your leg is behind your body and not drawing outwards and your heel is pointing up to the ceiling.
  • Draw your legs in towards each other to help keep your hips square.
  • Gently lower yourself down
  • On an inhale lift your upper body, come on your fingertips, hands shoulder width apart, draw your navel in, tailbone down and open your chest.
  • On an exhale walk your hands forward on the fingertips and lower your upper body to the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.
  • Stay here for 5 breaths or longer and on an exhale try to release the tension in your right hip.
  • Balance your weight on both legs.
  • Come out of the pose by pushing back through the hands and lifting the hips, move the leg back into all fours.

Dolphin Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

  • Come onto your hands and knees (all fours). Make sure your knees are directly below the hips. Place your forearms on the floor, insuring that your shoulders are directly above your elbows, press them into the floor. Press the palms of your hands together, interlace the fingers. If your shoulders are open you can have your hands palms down shoulder width apart (like in the picture).
  • On an exhale, curl your toes under and lift your knees away from the floor, keeping your knees slightly bent to find length in the spine and your heels lifted. Next extend your legs and lower the heels towards the floor (they don’t have to touch).
  • Extend your hips up to the ceiling. Lift your sitting bones up but draw the tailbone down.
  • Draw your inner legs up into the groin, continue to press the forearms actively into the floor.
  • Firm your shoulder blades down onto your back while maintaining space between them. Lengthen your spine. Hold your head between your arms, keep the head off the floor.
  • You can hold this pose between 5-15 breaths.

Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)

  • Take a big step back with your left leg.
  • Right foot turned out to the top of your mat, left foot turned slightly in (same direction as the right foot) about 45/60 degrees .
  • Stand with straight legs, press 4 corners of feet into the floor, firm your legs up.
  • Inhale as you raise your arms parallel to the floor, keeping the shoulders down and neck long.
  • Exhale as you bend the right knee, keeping your knee over ankle, not past! Bring your right thigh towards parallel to the floor. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the legs, and bring them further apart. Heel to heel alignment.
  • Check the alignment of your right knee, right over the ankle and it should be in line with the first 2 toes, roll top of thigh down towards floor on the right. Press down through the big toe to balance that action. Press top of left thigh back, and ground the outside of the left foot into the floor.
  • Sides of hips firm in and elongate through the four sides of your spine evenly. Draw your abdomen gently in and up. Diaphragm soft.
  • Extend through collarbones, through fingertips, and elongate evenly through the four sides of the neck.
  • Look out over the right arm.
  • your body should be in a right angle with the floor. Shoulders over hips.
  • To come out, press into your feet and on an inhalation straighten the leg.
  • Change the orientation of the feet to the other side, and repeat on the left side.

Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)

  • Starting in a High Lunge with your right foot forward, hips are square to the front of the mat, arms are either side of your ears with the hands shoulder distance apart or palms touching.
  • Activate your core by lifting your pelvic floor muscles and drawing in the lower belly, navel to spine. Engaging Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas for stability and lightness.
  • On an exhale fold from the hips lowering your torso and arms so that they are around a 45 degree angle with the floor.
  • Focus on a point on the floor just in front of your mat.
  • Inhale, root down through the front foot and begin to shift your weight forwards. Starting to lift the back foot from the floor.
  • Begin to straighten the standing leg as you bring your body and left leg parallel with the floor.
  • Lift the muscles of the right thigh to keep the leg engaged without locking the knee.
  • The toes of the back foot are pointing down to the floor and the hips are level.
  • Keep the standing leg strong by rooting through the foot.
  • Extend out through both the raised foot and the hands.
  • Stay for five breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, exhale and start to bend the standing leg as you lift the torso and lower the raised leg, with control, back into High Lunge.
  • Inhale and step forward to Mountain Pose / Tadasana.
  • Repeat on the other side.