Practice yoga to calm mind, burn calories

The chair pose is a yoga move.

Lea Petersen

Stressed and in need of a good workout? Practicing yoga can calm the mind and burn calories.

There are many places around Ames that provide yoga classes. However, if your schedule is like your jeans and is a bit tight this semester, practicing personal yoga can still be beneficial for your mental and physical health. A few basic moves for yoga include plank, downward facing dog, tree, forward fold and chair.

Plank: Come down to the ground as if you are doing push-ups. With your shoulders directly above your wrists, you should create a straight, flat line from your back to your feet. Be mindful that your hips are not sagging toward the ground or pushed up awkwardly toward the sky. Holding plank will create strength in your arms and your abs.

Downward facing dog: From plank, you can push your hips up, lengthening out your back, forming an upside down v or downward facing dog. Your focus should be on lengthening your back and keeping your spine straight. A slight bend in your knees may be needed to achieve the pose.

Forward fold: Standing with your feet hips-width apart, you can bend forward reaching to either of your calves, ankles or the ground in a forward fold. This pose stretches out the hamstrings and can increase flexibility. If you cannot reach your feet, wrap a strap around your feet and use it to pull your chest closer to your thighs. By practicing this regularly, you will be able to reach your feet if that was not possible before.

Tree: Tree is a balancing posture and a hip opener. Standing on one leg, bring the foot of your other leg to either side of your ankle, calf, upper thigh or inner thigh. Never place your foot on your knee — this can be very harmful to your knee. Standing in tree pose will strengthen your legs and increase your ability to balance. Make sure you practice the tree pose equally on both sides.

Chair: Chair is exactly as it sounds: making a chair with your body. Focus on having a strong, straight back in your chair. Keep in mind that your knees should be in line with one another and your weight should be on your heels. You can check where your weight is by making sure you can wiggle your toes while staying in chair. This pose will improve strength in your quads and improve posture.