Besides building strength and increasing flexibility, yoga helps you focus and relax your mind. Exercises by Cyndi Lee, founder of Om Yoga, in New York City, and lead instructor in the DVD Om Yoga & Meditation Workshop ($25, amazon.com).
Sit cross-legged on the floor, back straight and hands relaxed in your lap. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and evenly through your nose for two minutes. Slowly bend your torso from side to side for 15 breaths, exhaling to each side.
Try to make the movements flow from one to the next. Hold each position (the how-tos are on the following pages) for three breaths unless instructed otherwise.
- cow and cat poses: From the cross-legged warm-up pose, move into cow pose on an exhale. Inhaling, switch to cat pose. Alternate between cow and cat poses for 15 breaths.
- Press up into downward dog. Lower knees to floor, then push back up. Repeat five times.
- Step your right foot forward between your hands into a classic lunge, with your bent right knee directly over your right foot, your left foot straight behind you, both feet pointing forward, and fingertips on the floor.
- Move into extended side angle.
- Do a lunge and an extended side angle on your left side.
- Lie facedown for the locust pose.
- Turn over to lie flat on your back. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for two minutes.