The Yoga Workout for People Who Hate Yoga
Get the perks of a full-on flow without hating your life in tree pose.
News flash: Just because you're into fitness doesn't mean you need to like yoga. There are plenty of people who find the thought of ~breathing~ through warrior III torturous, and who'd rather run 10 miles, do 100 burpees, or swim a mile instead. No shame in that at all. (Seriously-you should stop doing things you hate just because you feel like you're supposed to.)
But yoga does have a lot of benefits: It can help you become better at the fitness things you do like, boost your flexibility and mobility, and work out any uncomfortable tight spots you may have. (That doesn't even include yoga's other benefits like nixing stress, improving your sex life, and reducing headaches.) But this doesn't mean you need to suffer through an hour-long class the same way you pinch your nose and down a shot of wheatgrass in the name of health. Instead, try this quickie flow from yogi Danielle Cuccio of Cuccio Somatology. It'll take you through some basic, not-super-yoga-y moves, and will give you a bite-sized dose of the benefits without your having to do the whole shebang.
If it makes you feel better, you don't even need to think of this as yoga-these same moves are used in warm-up and cool-down sequences for tons of different workouts. Watch Cuccio demo the flow, or read through the breakdown below. Then go ahead and get on with your non-yoga flow-your body will thank you for it.
Stretching Series (Sun Salutation)
A. Stand with feet together. Inhale and swing arms overhead to touch palms together, then exhale and swan dive forward, opening arms to the sides and folding forward over legs, leading with chest.
B. Release torso over legs, then inhale and lift halfway up so back is flat, neck is neutral, and hands rest lightly on the front of legs. Shift weight into toes.
C. Exhale and release torso over legs. Inhale to press palms into the floor outside of feet, and step or hop feet back into high plank position. Exhale and lower halfway down in a push-up, squeezing elbows to sides.
D. Inhale to straighten arms, lift chest up so crown of head points toward the ceiling, and flip feet over so tops rest on the floor.
E. Exhale and flip onto balls of feet, shifting hips back into downward facing dog so body forms and upside-down "V" shape.
Rotated Lunge (Twisting Side Angle Pose)
A. From downward facing dog, inhale and extend straight right leg backward into the air. Exhale and sweep it through to step between hands.
B. Holding a low lunge position, inhale and lift right arm up to the ceiling, palm and chest spiraling to face right.
C. Return right palm to mat, step right foot back into high plank, and exhale, shifting hips back into downward facing dog. Repeat on the opposite side, ending in high plank.
More Stretching (Downward Dog and Upward Dog)
A. From high plank, exhale and lower halfway down in a push-up, squeezing elbows to sides.
B. Inhale to straighten arms, lift chest up so crown of head points toward the ceiling, and flip feet over so tops rest on the floor (upward dog).
C. Exhale and flip onto balls of feet, shifting hips back into downward facing dog so body forms an upside-down "V" shape (downward dog).
D. Inhale and step feet forward between hands, then exhale releasing torso over legs. Inhale to lift halfway up with a flat back, then exhale to fold forward again.
E. Inhale to reverse swan dive up to standing, sweeping arms out to the sides and leading with the crown of the head. Press palms together overhead and exhale, lowering them down into prayer position in front of chest.