The International Day of Yoga — which is on Tuesday, June 22 — could be the day that jump-starts a healthy new habit.
The UN says on its website that the “essence of yoga is balance — not just balance within 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 mindfulness, moderation, discipline and perseverance.”
Originating in ancient India, yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice, the UN says.
5-minute morning yoga routine
CNN fitness contributor Stephanie Mansour created this five-minute yoga routine to loosen up your body and start your day off feeling calm, balanced and positive.
“As a certified yoga instructor for over a decade, I encourage my clients to engage in a daily yoga practice (preferably in the morning) to get the blood flowing, boost energy and invigorate the senses,” she wrote.
“These poses 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 amount of time.
“Practice all of these poses with the pranayama breath: Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. Breathe slowly and mindfully, and sync your breath with your movements.”
4 yoga moves before bed
You started the day off right with yoga. Another short session with four yoga moves can get you ready for a good night’s sleep.
“Too often, sleep eludes us because of the common aches and pains that make it difficult to fall asleep or wake us up in the night,” said CNN contributor Dana Santas, a breathing, mobility and mind-body coach in professional sports.
“These exercises address those areas where we tend to feel that type of pain and tension.”
Watch the video at the top of this story to release tension in your lower back, hips and glutes.
Yoga tips from an NFL star
Finally, you might not think of rough ‘n’ rugged NFL stars when you think of yoga. But Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Mike Daniels has found that yoga works for him. Santas talked with Daniels about how he developed the habit.
“I started doing yoga after my fourth season in the NFL, going into my fourth year. I was feeling really stiff, and one of my teammates said I needed to start practicing yoga. He passed along the instructor’s 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 top practitioners, the late B.K.S. Iyengar will inspire you:
“Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.”