You don't need a big chunk of time to get all the benefits of yoga. In fact, these eight off-the-mat yoga poses take less than a minute each. By weaving them into activities you're already doing, such as showering, cooking, and sitting at your desk, you'll have more energy, feel less stressed, and be stronger--without taking time out of your day to attend a class or work out to a video.
Tips for yoga beginners
Besides, the busier you are, the more likely you are to need yoga in your life. "Many people don't realize they hold tension in their bodies that can contribute to back, neck, and head pain," says physical therapist Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, author of 30 Essential Yoga Poses. "Yoga is like a speed bump that slows you down so you pay attention to your body." And that extra attention can keep you going strong.
7 am: In the Shower
This belly-breathing exercise tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles and can relieve headaches. Bonus: Doing it in a steamy shower can help clear your sinuses.
10 Yoga poses for a model worthy body
Stand tall with the water against your back. Place your palms on your abdomen, with index fingers near your navel. Relax your belly and inhale deeply through your nose so your abdomen expands against your hands. Then exhale completely, pulling in your abdominal muscles to force out all the air, and make an om sound, feeling the vibration. If you'd prefer, use another sound or a word such as "home," "love," or "amen." Do three times.
8:30 am: Driving to Work
A twist of yoga poses at the beginning and end of your commute can defuse road rage and prevent headaches and neck and shoulder pain. You can also try it when you're stuck at a red light or in a traffic jam (but first shift into "park" for safety).
Sit tall, pressing your buttocks into the seat and lifting the top of your head toward the sky. Keep your chin level and feet flat on the floor. Place your right hand by your right hip and your left hand on the steering wheel at the 3 o'clock position. Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale, gently press your hands into the seat and against the wheel, and twist to the right as far as you comfortably can. Holding that position, inhale and lengthen. Then exhale and twist farther, but don't strain. Inhale and return to the starting position. Do one time to each side.
11 am: At Your Desk
If you sit at a desk all day, do this gentle back bend at least once every hour to relieve upper-back and neck tension and to give you a burst of energy.
15 Minute yoga routine to fight pain and boost energy
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms with fingers facing forward on the seat behind your hips. Inhale and lengthen your spine, reaching the top of your head toward the ceiling. As you exhale, press your palms into the seat and roll your shoulders back and down. Inhale and lift your chin and chest, gazing toward the ceiling. Don't drop your head back. Hold these yoga poses for two or three deep breaths.
1:30 pm: When the Phone Rings
Don't rush to the phone on the first ring. Instead, use the interruption as an opportunity to do this 6-second tranquilizer.
When the phone rings (or the computer boots up or a Web site loads), stop what you're doing, lengthen your spine, and take a deep belly breath. Picture yourself at a relaxing spot, such as floating in a lake (close your eyes if it helps), and relax your upper-body muscles. Then smile and pick up the phone on the second or third ring.
4 pm: Waiting in Line
Don't just stand there. Practice your yoga poses with this modified Tree Pose, and you'll strengthen your legs and torso and stand taller.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight evenly distributed onto the soles. Your knees should be over your ankles, hips over knees, shoulders over hips, and ears over shoulders. Lengthen your spine by lifting from the top of your head while keeping your chin level. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and relax your face and throat. Shift your weight and balance on your right foot, resting your left foot against your right ankle. Take slow, deep breaths and hold for as long as possible. Repeat with your left leg.
10 Reasons to get off the couch
6:30 pm: In the Kitchen
While waiting for the water to boil, this modified Downward Dog Pose will counteract all the desk time you logged and energize you for evening activities.