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Om at home

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Pasyal Team

Posted on September 30, 2020

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BY BELLE RODOLFO
ART BY SAM SUMULONG

Yoga poses for the quarantined spirit.

If you have yet to pick up a hobby or two this lockdown season/year/life, we suggest to start with something that needs the littlest equipment and the most self-discipline: yoga, a practice known to be effective for those wanting to find inner peace…and a gracefully toned bod.

We spoke to one of Beyond Yoga’s instructors, Kitkat Cuenca, on how to jumpstart a self-practice at home. Plus, keep reading for a cheat sheet on beginner-friendly poses that energizes you in the morning and decompresses at the end of the day.

PASYAL: What are the best ways to establish a personal ritual pre- and post- practice that lets you get the best out of it?

KITKAT CUENCA (KC): First of all, it’s making time to practice and finding the discipline to get on your mat! I personally enjoy practicing early in the morning because it keeps me feeling energized throughout the day. If I can’t practice in the A.M., I make time after work in order to release all the tension I’ve been holding in my body from sitting the whole day.

It’s important for me to start my practice with a seated meditation — taking in deep breaths to tune out from the external world, to understand where I am physically and mentally, and to set an intention for my practice. The post practice ritual is simple: never skip savasana!

P: What asanas (poses) do you love for invigorating yourself in the morning or midday?

KC: Here are some I recommend:

Cat and Cow

Go on tabletop or all fours, with knees hips width apart, hands shoulder width apart. Inhale to bend your back so your belly is low and your back arched towards the mat for cow pose. Extend the neck and look up. Exhale to cat by hollowing the belly and rounding the back upward, with head and eyes down. Repeat several times on your own breath and pace.

Standing Forward Fold

Raise your arms above the head in an inhale. Fold down on an exhale. Bend knees as much as you need, keeping your tailbone high.

Standing Side Bend

Stand tall, feet and legs hips width apart. With arms above your head, hands in prayer, bend towards the right side while keeping your shoulders from your ears, tucking your ribcage and tailbone in. Feel tall and feel your core engage. Bend to the right while keeping the length in your left side body and space in the right. Repeat on other side.

P: How do you debunk the myth that yoga is only for people with a background in dance, or are already flexible and agile?

KC: It doesn’t matter how experienced you are at yoga or how “fit”you are – yoga is for everybody and every body! It’s finding the balance between strength and flexibility, moving with mindfulness, and increasing body awareness.

In my case, I started out flexible but with little to no strength. It was something I learned along the way. There are a lot of preconceived limitations such as “I can’t do yoga, I can’t even touch my toes!”, but I feel that as long as you’re willing to put in the work in improving your range of motion, you will get there.

It’s best to make your practice something that caters to your needs and enjoy the journey.

P: How has yoga helped you in your own search for peace when you’ve had a stressful day or week?

KC: I really look forward to the energy I feel after a good practice. Although there are many physical benefits to yoga, the practice itself is more than just the postures—the sitting practice is just as important and I feel it has helped me a lot in finding peace and clearing my headspace. It’s important to set time to meditate, to sit still and take deep breaths, in order to decompress after a stressful day or start the day with an intention.

P: Could you give us poses that would be best for decompressing at the end of the day?

KC: I like ending my day with these:

Pigeon Pose

Go into a downward facing dog. From here, raise the right leg up into three-legged dog. Start bringing your foot forward as if you’re going into a lunge, knee bent. Then rest your right foot behind your left wrist, and your right knee behind the right wrist. Set your hips down on the mat. Your back leg should lay straight back. You can stay here or you can gently bend forward over your legs. Keep your foot flexed to protect your knee. Repeat on other side.

Supine Spinal Twist

Lying down on your back, spread your arms wide into a cross. Lift right leg up, bend the knee into a right angle, and making sure you keep your shoulders flat across the mat, stretch your right knee across your left side. Turn your head to look across your right arm. Repeat on the other side.

Legs Up the Wall

Set up a cozy space against a wall. Set your lower back/sacrum on a block (or folded blanket or bolster), and lean your legs upwards on the wall. Let your arms lay relaxed by your sides. You may flex or stretch your feet as you please. Stay in the pose.

Wanna kickstart your yoga practice at home? Head over to these Ayala Mall stores that house essential gear for the at-home yogi:

Visit Certified Calm at Rustan’s in Glorietta.

Visit Chris Sports at Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Ayala Center Cebu, Abreeza Mall and The District – North Point among other locations.

Visit Toby’s Sports at TriNoma, Ayala Malls Feliz and Alabang Town Center, among other locations.

Set all you equipment in place and click here for some free online yoga classes (and other workouts!) from our favorite local fitness studios.

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