Yoga to the Rescue! 8

A 15-Minute Workout from Valley Yoga

Jennifer Hojnacki, owner

Valley Yoga

131 Chesterfield Towne Center

Jennifer Hojnacki leads Valley Yoga, which she says has the most beginner-friendly yoga sessions in Chesterfield. Indeed, she and instructors at Valley Yoga specialize in gentle yoga and offer classes that benefit every body type, regardless of age, fitness level, size, flexibility or limitation. They provide yoga classes, private lessons and workshops, as well as a new student special rate.

Jennifer says it’s easy to try the following steps to incorporate the benefits of yoga stretching, strengthening, flexibility and balance into your life for 15 minutes a day.

01. Centering Pose, 2 to 3 minutes

Take a comfortable seat on your mat. Cross legs, or sit with legs stretched out in front. Lengthen spine and close eyes. Inhale and exhale while observing your breath. Over time, lengthen, inhale and exhale. Continue to slow down the breath.

Cat/Cow Pose, 1 minute

Come to hands and knees; stack shoulders over wrists and hips over knees, with hands slightly wider than shoulders. Spread fingers evenly and point index fingers straight ahead. Inhale, drawing the chest forward and up, lift tailbone and drop belly. Draw shoulder blades back. Exhale, draw the navel toward the spine, chin toward the chest and round spine evenly, like an agitated cat. Repeat five times.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose, 
1 to 2 minutes

From all fours, walk hands forward 3 to 4 inches, tuck toes under and lift hips toward ceiling, keeping knees bent. Press down through palms and straighten arms, stretching spine. Hold 1 to 2 minutes, lowering knees to the mat if tired, then lifting back up.

04. Mountain Pose, 1 minute

From Downward-Facing Dog, walk hands and feet together. Bend knees and roll or lift up to standing. Walk to the front of the mat. Press down through both feet, balancing weight between right and left foot and between front and back of feet. Firm the legs, draw navel in and up, stretch the spine and lift the chest. Breathe here for 1 minute.

Warrior II Pose, 3 to 4 minutes

From Mountain, step back 4 to 5 feet with left foot. Point right toes straight forward and left toes toward long edge of the mat. Then, turn back toes in slightly. Line up right heel with left arch. With torso facing long edge of the mat, bend right knee, stacking knee over ankle. If the bent knee is going forward of the ankle, move foot forward until shin is straight up and down. Draw right knee out toward pinky toe side of the foot. Reach arms away from each other in a “T” and gaze over front fingertips. Hold 1 to 2 minutes, then pivot on feet and repeat on left side.

06. Triangle Pose, 2 to 3 minutes

Come back to Warrior II, the first side. Straighten front leg. Shift hips back, and lean forward over the straight front leg. When you can’t reach forward anymore, allow right hand to drop down, lightly resting on shin or ankle. Place left hand on left hip or reach arm to the ceiling. Hold 1 minute, then return to Warrior II, pivot on feet and repeat on left side.

07. Tree Pose, 2 minutes

Return to Mountain pose. Shift weight to right leg and lift left heel. Turn the left knee/leg out to the left from deep within hip socket. Keep the ball of left foot on the floor and stack left heel above right ankle or place the sole of the foot on inside of right leg above or below knee. (Do not press the foot into the knee.) Hold for five to six breaths. Lower foot to the mat and switch sides.

08. Savasana or Corpse Pose

To conclude, lie down on back. Allow feet and legs to flop open. Rest arms away from the body, with palms turned up. Close eyes and relax completely. After a few minutes, rise up and feel more refreshed and relaxed.