WHEN YOU HAVE NO CHILL
Simple yoga moves that will have you saying ~namaste~ in no time.
Meet Elke Avis, a yoga guru who specialises in helping young women. Through her business, Free Girls Yoga (freegirlsyoga.com. au), she’s inspiring girls to get into yoga and mindfulness. “We teach in-school programs and community classes specifically catered to girls, so you can learn ways to feel healthier, happier and more empowered,” Elke says. Wait – isn’t yoga just for frazzled mums? Actually, everyone can benefit from a little focused stretching – especially teenage girls. “A yoga and mindfulness practice is the ultimate way to turn down the dial on any stress and anxiety you may feel,” Elke says. “It is calming for your body, relaxes your mind and settles your worries.” (Um, sign us up!) Here Elke demonstrates some gentle poses you can easily do in the morning before school or before bed. “They open up, stretch and strengthen different parts of the body, helping to clear and focus the mind,” she says.
SIDE STRETCH POSE
TIP: Keep the chest open and your arms straight. BENEFITS: This wakes up a sleepy mind. It also stretches and loosens the spine. BREATH: Exhale while bending, inhale while lifting back up.
FOLDING BUTTERFLY POSE
TIP: Round your spine and let the head hang. BENEFITS: Calms and rejuvenates the body and mind. BREATH: Exhale as you move your upper body forward. Inhale to come up.
TIP: Your knees should be pointed over your toes. Keep your face, arms and upper body relaxed. BENEFITS: This strengthens the legs and back, and helps the reproductive system. BREATH: Inhale down and hold to breathe in, then exhale to come up.
CAT STRETCH POSE
TIP: Move the spine with the leg so you get a stretch on the front and back of the body. BENEFITS: It’s great for stiff backs. It’s also beneficial for the health of your reproductive system and can assist in relieving menstrual cramps. BREATH: Inhale while lifting your leg up, exhale when bringing it in.
SEATED SPINAL TWIST
TIP: Keep the spine straight and turn your gaze in the direction of your back arm. BENEFITS: This massages the liver, stomach and intestines, and also helps improve digestive problems. BREATH: Exhale into the twist then hold. Breathe in and twist further, then inhale as you move out of it.