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Quick yoga routines

By Sheila Kimani

Health and fitness are playing a greater role in our daily activities as more people incorporate exercise in their schedules. But while many people settle for jogging, swimming, weightlifting and aerobics, very few consider yoga as an option.

Ask most people what ‘yoga’ is and they will simply define it as ‘a mind-body exercise that involves sitting calmly on a mat and soul searching!’ This may be partly true, but yoga involves much more, and its vast array of benefits range from stress relief and improved breathing to weight loss.

Pioneered more than 5,000 years ago by ancient Hindus, yoga was first practised to heal community members of diseases and spells. Over time, yoga progressed from a community-oriented activity to a more inward and personal exercise.

 “The best thing about yoga is that with basic guidelines, one can conveniently plan their workout schedule or even modify the yoga disciplines to suit their needs,” James Kanja, a yoga instructor at Safari Gym, says.


Here are some basics:

1.      Side-stretch pose

This yoga pose helps to raise your heart rate and burn calories.

i.       Assume an upright posture, with your feet slightly apart.

ii.      Gently inhale as you raise your left arm, aligning your left foot with your left fingertips.

iii.     Place your right hand on your right hip.

iv.     Hold this position for a few seconds, and then bend your upper body to the right as you exhale.

v.      After a minute or two, gently inhale, and return to your original position. Repeat on the other side.

2.      Bow pose

When you need to burn fat and tone your arms and legs, this yoga pose comes in handy.

i.       Lie on your stomach; bend your knees and reach around to grab your feet.

ii.      Pull in your stomach and extend your feet upward while raising your upper body. Keep your shoulder blades down.

iii.     Hold for a few minutes, relax then start again.

3.      Wind-releasing pose

This fat-burning yoga pose targets your abdominal area.

i.       Lie on the floor and bring your knees up to your chest with ankles together.

ii.      Clasp your arms over your knees as you raise your head.

iii.     Breathe deeply, and then slowly return to your original position.

4.      Cobra pose

This simple pose strengthens the back and abdominal muscles and tones the abs.

i.       While lying down, press your legs and hips down. Place your hands under your shoulders, palms down and fingers apart.

ii.      Lift your head, chest and upper back off the mat.

iii.     Push back your shoulders and feel the stretch spread evenly along the length of your spine.

iv.     Relax after a few deep breaths.

5.      Warrior pose

This pose is one of the most powerful lower-body strength enforcers as it recruits almost all the muscles in your legs to support your weight. It works your abs, thighs and arms and is most effective when incorporated into yoga sequences.

i.       While standing upright, with your left leg, step four to five feet to the left.

ii.      Turn both feet and your torso to the left.

iii.     Slightly bend your left knee over your toes while keeping your right leg straight, as if almost kicking.

iv.     Maintain your posture and raise both arms above your head, with your fingertips pointing upward.

v.      Hold the pose for a few minutes then turn to the right and go through the steps again.

These few steps could be the keys to your ultimate yoga workout. However, seek advice from your doctor if you have any medical concerns.