Reap all the benefits yoga has to offer with these at-home yoga exercises by teacher Sarai Harvey-Smith.
The downward facing dog
Start on your hands and knees, hands under shoulders and shoulder width apart, fingers spread wide, middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Knees and feet hip width apart and parallel. Straighten legs and use hands to push weight back into legs. Lift kneecaps and quadriceps up and keep legs strong. Keep lifting hips up and back.
Roll upper arms/shoulders out and descend muscles of the neck towards the hips, arms as straight as possible. Move the spine into the body, and chest towards legs, keeping the ribs passive (don't let the rib cage kick out of the front body) this action opens the shoulders and hamstrings. Let the head relax.
The cow face pose
Stand with legs active (kneecaps and quadriceps lifting), keep body aligned during posture. Use a belt or top if you can't reach. Take right hand behind your back, little finger against spine. Lift right shoulder up and roll shoulder back, pressing shoulder blade flat against your back.
Rotate left arm out, lift straight up and bend elbow, catching hands or rope behind back. Repeat on other side.
The reverse prayer pose
Stand with legs active (kneecaps and quadriceps lifting), keep body aligned during posture. Both arms like the right arm in cow face pose, if you can't get the palms together then start with fingertips touching and arms/hands in position lower down the back, or hold your elbows and rotate shoulders and arms out.
The warrior 2
Stand with feet about three feet apart, heels aligned, and turn right thigh and toes out, 90 degrees, left toes in 30 degrees. Keep knee in the direction of the toes (this protects the knee), let the pelvis tilt towards the bent knee, but keep chest facing forward. Bend right knee till it is over the ankle, and raise arms, outwardly rotate the arms.
The warrior 1
Stand with feet together and step left foot back three feet, heels aligned, hands on hips. Roll left hip forwards, right hip back. Bend front knee till it is over the ankle. Take arms wide, turn palms up, then raise arms up, keep arms straight.
The camel pose
Start kneeling with knees and feet parallel. Push shins down into the round, hands on hips. Lift chest, roll shoulders back, lift collarbones, engage lower buttocks. Start to arch your back, and pressing the pelvis forwards, lifting the chest, reach your hands to the feet, placing palms on feet fingers towards toes.
If you can't reach your toes, either keep hands on hips moving elbows back, or tuck toes under to elevate heels.
Start sitting on heels, toes pointed and shins along the ground, knees a few inches apart. Keep your buttocks connected to heels, if the buttocks lift off the heels put a yoga block or blanket under buttocks. Place hands out in front and forehead on the ground, or on a block/blanket if head doesn't reach the ground.
Let chest and spine move down towards the ground. With hands, keep pressing body weight into the buttocks and down into the heels.
Sarai Harvey-Smith is hosting her own yoga retreats in Sri Lanka in September and a detox retreat at Tilton House, East Sussex in January.
Celebs showing off at yoga
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