A little yoga goes a long way. We try to spread the gospel of shorter, more efficient workouts, the less-is-more mentality, and the fact that something is better than nothing. And that includes how we approach our yoga practice. Sometimes, however, when you’re crunched on time, it’s nice to know the poses to focus on to get the most bang for your physical, mental, and emotional buck in record time. Lifestyle blogger Lauren Gores Ireland enlisted her yoga instructor to show TCM readers the five yoga poses to do daily for less stress, more awareness, and to get your body moving

Daily life often becomes overwhelming as we try to balance our relationships, careers, and a growing to-do list — all at once. The stress seems to gradually increase, until suddenly, we feel a breakdown coming on. I’m always seeking new ways to calm my mind and create peace within myself amid the busiest days. Most recently, I worked closely with yoga instructor Molly Mitchell-Hardt to learn a series of moves I could practice daily. As much as I love attending a full yoga class, a busy lifestyle doesn’t always allow time each day. The following five moves are ones you can do from home and work. As Molly explained during our session, this series of positions will decrease anxiety and improve your ability to live presently.

Try holding each pose as recommended below. You can make changes that fit your personal comfort. Repeat each position as your mind/body desires.

5 Yoga Poses You Should Be Doing Every Day

Seated Meditation:

A mere 5 minutes of seated meditation each morning can significantly calm your mind before a busy day. Pick a quiet area to check in with yourself and to be still with your thoughts. This will leave you feeling clear and emotionally centered. Hold: 5 minutes.

Forward Fold:

If you begin to feel overwhelmed mid-day, take a few minutes to hang in a forward fold. This move calms your central nervous system, reduces anxiety and elongates your spine. You’ll also give your hamstrings and lower back a well-deserved stretch, especially if your workday consists of sitting at a desk. Hold: 5-10 deep breaths.

Standing Pigeon:

When a hectic day results in a scattered brain, try doing this move. The standing pigeon increases both circulation and your ability to focus. This position will also strengthen your thighs and open your hips, making it easier to stand or sit for long periods of time. Hold: 3-5 deep breaths.

Child’s Pose:

This is another ideal move to practice when you feel overwhelmed. The child’s pose has a calming effect on the mind. This position also allows you to easily regulate your breathing, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll find this especially helpful midday, when stress levels often peak. Hold: 5-10 deep breaths.

Shoulder Stand:

The shoulder stand is a great move to do before bed. The position has a soothing effect on the parasympathetic nervous system and helps reduce insomnia. For beginners, it’s helpful to have a partner help you get into the position. As you become more comfortable, the easier it will be to hold this stretch. Hold: 30 seconds – 5 minutes, depending on your comfort level.

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