According to Yoga Haven owner-director Betsy Kase, yoga is perfect for practicing at home, regardless of the current state of the world. “Whether we are in the middle of a pandemic or not, creating and establishing a short, at-home practice is an awesome addition to a self-care routine,” says Kase. “Yoga stretches and strengthens muscles and connective tissue, massages internal organs and glands, and deep yogic breathing increases lung capacity.”
Kase, whose Yoga Haven is located in Tuckahoe, notes that the abundance of current stressors makes yoga even more helpful. “Consciously pausing from the craziness of our day, paying attention to how our body moves and how we breathe has great effects on the nervous system, including the brain,” she says. Kase recommends searching for a local studio with online videos, signing up for a level-one or beginner class, and following along from home.
“Not all classes are alike. Look for a class where the teacher is simple, clear, and concise, moves slowly and mindfully, and the poses are basic,” Kase advises, adding that she believes a connection to a local studio is important. “Yoga is a private, personal practice for health and well-being, but hopefully, in the future, we will be able to practice together and feel the interconnectedness we all share.”
“Come to hands and knees, bring your big toes together and your knees wide. Press into your hands and press your hips back toward your heels. Keep pressing your hips back and reach your hands forward to lengthen your spine. Stretch from your hips to your fingertips.”
“Lie on your back, without a pillow under your head and feet hip-distance apart, elbows bent, and fingers pointing up to the ceiling. Press into your upper arms, elbows and feet, lift your hips, and relax your chin away from your chest. Either hold for a couple of breaths or go up and down with the breath slowly.”
“Come into table pose, step one foot up between your hands, and move your hips slowly forward — knee over ankle. Stretch your groin and hip flexors. Your hands can stay on the floor, resting on the knee or reaching up to the ceiling.”
“Lie on your back and pull your knees up to your chest. Open your arms out to a T-position and release your knees to one side. Take a couple of breaths. Mindfully, pull your belly in and draw the knees back up to center. Pause, then release your knees to the other side.”
“Starting at the tailbone, travel up to the base of the skull. Start by lifting your tailbone and sinking your spine, then lifting your head on your inhale. On your exhale, release your tailbone down and under, dome the back, and curl the head under. Continue coordinating your breath with the movement and slow down!”