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    Boost Your Morning Routine With This Easy 15-Minute Yoga Flow

    If you ask me, there’s no better way to start the day than with a morning yoga routine. Whether I need to ground down or feel more energized, the right flow of poses always helps me tune into my breath and body.

    Yoga can be an especially powerful practice for anyone dealing with anxiety and depression — and I find that turning to yoga before busy or stressful days goes a long way toward feeling more balanced and centred.

    Plus, mind-body therapies like yoga have been shown to reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, according to research published in Plos One.

    And, yes, in case you’re wondering, a morning yoga routine also challenges your body (chair pose is no joke!), so you can move through your day feeling mentally and physically strong — and more flexible. It starts out with some warm-up poses, moves through a vinyasa sequence that you’ll repeat on each side, and then winds down.

    Time: 15 minutes

    Equipment needed: Yoga mat

    Instructions: Flow from pose to pose listed below, holding and breathing as noted. After completing poses five through 12 on the right side, repeat on the left before moving on. Make this practice about moving intuitively. If you want to feel serene throughout the day, keep your movement slow and gentle. If you want to feel energized, build up to a quicker, more heated pace as you progress. The beauty of yoga is that it can be whatever you need it to be!


    How to: Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale and arch spine so belly sinks down while face and tailbone lift upwards. (This is cow pose.) Then, exhale and push into hands and knees to hollow belly, round spine, and tuck chin towards chest. (This is cat pose.) Repeat for five slow breaths, or about one minute.

    Feel the pose: Close your eyes and try to make your movements more dramatic with each round. Feel the collarbones spread wide in cow pose, and the back of the neck lengthen in cat pose. This one is all about finding a nice rhythm for your spine!

    Downward-Facing Dog

    How to: Start in a plank position. Lift hips up and back, sinking heels toward floor, until body forms an upside down “V” shape. Press shoulders away from ears and relax neck. Spread fingers wide on mat, with palms pressed against the floor. Hold for five slow breaths.

    Feel the pose: Breathe loudly through your nose to tune into yourself and deepen the posture.

    READ MORE: 10 Insanely Challenging Yoga Poses That Will Build Serious Strength

    Side Bends

    How to: Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and parallel, arms extended up overhead with hands interlaced. Inhale and lean up and over from waist to left side. Hold for a few breaths, then push through feet to return to standing and repeat on other side. Perform three rounds on each side.

    Feel the pose: As you create space and length in the sides of the body, feel your ribs separating away from your waist.

    Chair Pose

    How to: Start standing with feet together and arms at sides. At the same time, raise hands overhead, palms facing in, until biceps are by ears while bending knees and sitting back as if lowering into a chair. Hold for five breaths.

    Feel the pose: Challenge yourself and build heat in the body by staying here a little longer than you want to. Find ease in the neck as you breathe deep and feel energy extending out from your fingertips.

    Interlaced Forward Fold

    This pose begins your vinyasa sequence. Flow from this pose through pose number 12 (lizard pose) on the right side, then repeat on the left side.

    How to: Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and hands interlaced behind back, arms straight. Lift fists back away from body, gaze toward ceiling, spread collarbones wide, and then hinge at hips to fold torso over legs and stretch arms overhead. Relax head down and shift weight towards balls of feet. Hold for three long breaths, then release and return to standing.

    Feel the pose: Allow your head and neck to hang heavy and feel your spine decompress.

    Low Lunge Twist

    How to: Start in a low lunge with right foot forward between hands and left leg extended straight back. Draw right hand straight up overhead toward ceiling and rotate torso from waist to gaze up at it. Hold for three breaths.

    Feel the pose: Twist from your belly and upper back while keeping your legs and core strong. Engage your back leg and lift up out of hand on the floor.

    Warrior II

    How to: Start with legs almost as wide as mat, right foot forward, toes facing straight ahead, left foot back, outside of foot parallel to back of mat (right heel lined up with middle of left inner arch), torse facing left side, and arms at sides. Keep left leg straight while deeply bending right knee until thigh is parallel to mat, then extend arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Gaze should be over front fingers. Hold for three to five breaths.

    Feel the pose: Stretch through front and back fingertips equally and keep shoulders over hips.

    Wide Forward Fold

    How to: Start standing with feet wider than shoulders and parallel. Hinge at hips to bring torso in front of thighs, allowing head to relax and shifting weight toward balls of feet to open up backs of legs. Hold for three to five breaths, then return to standing.

    Feel the pose: This pose invites us to literally face inward. Let it draw you into a space of calm introspection as it energizes the body and increases blood flow to the brain.

    Fallen Triangle

    How to: Start in high plank. Then, pull right knee toward chest and slide right foot outside of left hand until both legs are extended to straight (entire left foot and outside of right foot are both on the floor). Draw left hand up toward ceiling and rotate torso to face extended leg. Hold for five breaths, then reverse the movement to return to plank position.

    Feel the pose: Lift hips high and raise gaze to look at top hand.

    READ MORE: Banesa Tseki On How Yoga Gave Her A New Lease On Life

    Low Plank

    How to: Start in a high plank position. Keep elbows in close to sides, bend arms, and lower entire body as one unit on an exhale, stopping when biceps are parallel to mat. As you start to inhale, immediately flow to the next pose.

    Up Dog

    How to: From a low plank position, untuck toes, but keep thighs and shins off the floor. Push through palms to straighten arms and lift upper body until perpendicular to mat. Hold for one breath.

    Lizard Pose

    How to: Start in a low lunge with right foot outside right hand and left leg extended straight back. Keep spine long and core engaged, then slowly lower onto forearms. Hold for five to eight deep breaths, allowing hips to relax and open with each exhale. Push up through hands to return to low lunge. Then, return to pose number five (interlaced forward fold) and repeat this sequence on the left side.

    Feel the pose: To modify, lower back knee to the ground.


    How to: Start lying facedown with legs straight and arms at sides, palms facing down. Inhale, draw shoulders back and down, and lift chest, arms, and legs up as high as comfortable, keeping neck long. Exhale, then lower back down with control. Repeat for five to eight breaths.

    Feel the pose: Reach fingertips back to open up chest and heart.


    How to: Start lying on back with arms at sides and legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Squeeze glutes and lift hips into air. Pull shoulder blades together and bring hands to clasp under body on mat. Hold for three to five breaths, then repeat three times.

    Feel the pose: Think about stretching knees over toes and energetically pulling heels toward glutes to create length in body at top of bridge.

    Happy Baby

    How to: Start lying on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at sides. Draw knees toward chest outside of ribs with legs bent and soles facing ceiling. Bring arms inside of legs and grab big toes with first two fingers and thumb of same hand. Gently pull knees toward floor. Hold for five to eight breaths.

    Feel the pose: Enjoy this juicy position as you start to slow down your heart rate and draw your practice to a close.


    How to: Start lying on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, left hand on heart, and right hand on stomach. Extend legs and arms to straight on floor. Relax for one to two minutes.

    Feel the pose: Let the body and mind restore after your hard work!

    This article was originally published on  More

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    The 15-Minute Countdown Workout For All-Over Quality Gains

    Productivity experts often tell clients to tackle the most challenging task on their to-do list first. The reason: a feeling of accomplishment gives you momentum to check off other less-daunting tasks throughout the rest of the day – even as your attention span diminishes.

    The same logic can work at the gym: a reverse pyramid – or countdown – format forces you to do the hardest part of the workout first, when you’re physically at your peak, says strength and conditioning trainer Albert Matheny. Then it’s downhill from there: as the number of reps decreases during the workout, the mental momentum you’re building allows you to finish strong, even as your body starts to fatigue.

    Follow this countdown workout from Matheny two or three days a week. Perform five reps of each of the following exercises in order, moving from one to the next without resting. Take a short break (30 to 60 seconds) if needed, then repeat the circuit, completing four reps of each move. Continue until you reach one rep of each move.

    You’ll need: a set of dumbbells that allows you to complete the reps with proper form. Try three to four kilograms to start.

    The 15-Minute Countdown Workout

    Dumbbell Thruster

    Hold a dumbbell in each hand just above your shoulders, palms facing in, then sit your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (A). Push through your heels to stand, pressing the weights overhead (B). Return to start; that’s one rep.

    Reverse Lunge

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (A). Step back with your right leg and bend both knees as you lower until your left knee is bent 90 degrees (B). Push through your left foot to stand, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

    Renegade Row

    Grab a pair of dumbbells and get into push-up position with your hands on the weights and your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart (A). Brace your core, then bend your right elbow to pull the weight towards your chest, keeping your hips parallel to the floor (B). Slowly lower the weight back to start, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

    Spiderman Plank With Dumbbells

    Start in push-up position with your hands on a pair of dumbbells and feet slightly wider than hip-width apart (A). Brace your core, then bend your right knee towards the outside of your right elbow (B). Pause, then return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.MAKE IT HARDER: do a push-up between each rep after returning to start position. More

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    Feel Strong And Powerful With This Explosive 15-Minute Workout

    By Wanita Nicol, equipment sponsored by REBEL Elite Fitness
    If you’re looking to find your strength and power, that high after you’ve completed something particularly tough, look no further than this explosive 15-minute workout.
    This workout combines fat-busting movements with strengthening exercises to tone your whole body – with emphasis on the wobbly bits around your butt and legs. Perform these moves as a circuit three or four times a week. For each exercise, do all required reps without rest, rest for up to a minute, then move on to the next exercise. Once you’re done, repeat the entire circuit for a total of three rounds. As you get fitter, decrease your rest time by 10 seconds. Always start with a quick warm-up — include shoulders, wrists and legs.
    READ MORE: This 4-Week Bodyweight Challenge Is The Ultimate New Year Workout Plan
    You’ll need: a step and a medicine ball (or any weighted object that’s easy to hold)
    Watch one of our WH staffers perform the moves for this 15-minute explosive workout:
    [embedded content]
    READ MORE: Get Strong, Shapely Legs With This Do-Anywhere Leg Workout 
    1. Step and Extend
    Stand about 30cm behind a sturdy box or step, feet hip-width apart, holding a medicine ball at your chest. Place your right foot on the box. Keeping your upper body straight, step up onto the box, straightening your right leg and extending your left leg out and back. Pressing the ball out explosively as you extend your back leg. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 12, then repeat on the other side.
    2. Donkey Kick
    Start in push-up position, legs extended behind you, feet together, hands under your shoulders. Keeping your legs together, brace your core and glutes, then kick both legs up simultaneously, bending your knees to bring your feet towards your butt. Try to land softly on the balls of your feet, back in the start position. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 16.Medi
    READ MORE: Tone Up The Fun Way With This Strength And Cardio Dance Workout
    3. Calf Raise
    Stand with your heels together and toes pointed out in a V shape. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet. Hold for two seconds, then slowly return to start. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 15.
    4. Quarter-turn Squat Jump
    With feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a squat, arms straight down. Jump up explosively, swinging your arms overhead and rotating 90 degrees left in mid-air. As you land softly, immediately drop back into a squat. Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 16.

    Wanita Nicol

    Wanita Nicol is a freelance writer and storyteller. She’s also a certified personal trainer and has been a fitness editor for more than 10 years. When she’s not trying a new workout or testing new fitness gear, she’s living her best nerd life on Instagram @TheFitNerdSA. More

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    4 Core Moves That’ll Create A Stronger Body All Over

    The body part you can’t stomach? Well, your stomach, according to our poll (31% of you cited your tum as needing the most attention). In the WhyFive SA Body Image Report, just 14% of respondents reported being happy with their tummies and 45% – nearly two-thirds of whom were black women – said they would consider a tummy tuck.
    Tighten your waistline without surgery with these 4 core moves from trainer David Kirsch. While you can’t spot-train a slimmer waistline (this happens with creating a caloric deficit and overall exercise), you can and should incorporate abdominal training into your routine, since your core spans your front, back and butt. Training these important muscles help create a leaner, healthier posture, can prevent injury and creates a healthier body overall.
    Try these 4 core moves in a circuit, doing three sets, or tack them to the end of your workout for strong results.
    1. Stability-Ball Jackknife
    Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and place your shins on a stability ball. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Keeping your back flat, slowly bend your knees towards your chest. Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20.
    READ MORE: Sculpt Your Body With This 15-Minute HIIT Workout
    2. Stability-Ball Hands-Offs
    Grab a light dumbbell in your right hand and position your shoulders on a stability ball, feet flat on the floor. Form a straight line from knees to shoulders and lift the weight above your right shoulder (A). Raise your shoulders, bring the weight to your left thigh, and grab it with your left hand (B). Reverse the move to return to start. Do 15 to 20 reps on each side.
    READ MORE: Boxing Inspired Workout: 8 Moves That Will Help You Get a Knockout Body RN!
    3. Reverse Oblique Crunch
    Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides, palms down, legs raised and knees slightly bent (A). Lift your hips and twist them slightly to the right (B). Return to start. That’s one rep. Repeat on the left side; continue alternating for 15 to 20 reps.
    READ MORE: Just These Two Workouts Make A Killer Six-Week Workout Routine
    4. Side Plank With Rear Fly
    Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and prop yourself up on your left forearm so your body is in a straight line. Hold the weight out in front of you at shoulder level (A). Slowly raise the weight towards the ceiling, arm straight, pulling your shoulder blades together (B). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15 to 20, then switch sides and repeat. More

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    Sculpt Your Body With This 15-Minute HIIT Workout

    Equipment sponsored by REBEL Elite Fitness
    The way mixed-martial-arts athletes train is extremely effective for the average person looking to slim down or shape up, says Mike Dolce, a former UFC fighter and longtime coach to top fighters. Dolce’s strategy combines functional strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which builds endurance and strength.
    For each exercise in this 15-minute HIIT workout, complete as many reps as possible in 30 seconds, moving from one to the next without resting. Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat for a total of five rounds.
    You’ll need: A set of dumbbells
    READ MORE: Boxing Inspired Workout: 8 Moves That Will Help You Get a Knockout Body RN!
    15-Minute HIIT Workout
    Watch one of our WH staffers perform the moves:[embedded content]
    1. Push-Up-Position Alternating Raise
    Start in push-up position, legs extended and feet more than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, then raise an arm in front of you to shoulder height, keeping your hips parallel to the floor. Slowly lower, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
    Tip: Make it harder by using a set of dumbbells or adding a push-up before each rep.
    2. Drop Lunge
    Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders, elbows close to your body, feet hip-width apart. Maintaining a tight core, step your left foot behind your right and bend both knees to lower into a lunge, sitting back into your right heel. Press through your right foot to stand, then repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
    READ MORE: Just These Two Workouts Make A Killer Six-Week Workout Routine
    3. Knee Strike With Side Kick
    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and fists raised in front of you. Keeping your chest upright, drive your right knee towards your chest as you rise onto the ball of your left foot. Lower your knee and drive your foot to the right, extending into a side kick. Return to start; repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
    4. Tuck Jump
    Position your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and bend your knees. In one explosive movement, jump as high as you can and bend your knees towards your chest. Land softly and pause to reset your stance. That’s one rep.
    READ MORE: Try These Exercises To Build A Stronger, Bigger Butt More

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    This 12-Minute Workout Is All You Need To Burn Fat — Yes, Really

    If your life is an endless juggling act of work, kids, chores and social commitments (jokes, who has time for those?) the idea of trying to squeeze in a fitness habit may seem impossible.
    But what do we say to the crazy schedule that tries to rob us of our gains? “Not today!” This workout is from trainer Krista Stryker, mastermind of 12 Minute Athlete workouts. Her workouts use zero equipment aside from your own body weight and a timer, which you can get from your phone.
    This 12 Minute Athlete workout takes almost no time at all, but will still score you all the fat-burning, muscle-sculpting results you’re after.
    How it works
    The catch? You have to work your butt off. “In order to get the maximum benefits of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you really do have to work really hard – up to 80-90% of your maximum capacity. You should basically feel like you’re sprinting during each work period and aim to go as fast as you can while keeping good form,” says Stryker. “HIIT workouts should be pretty intense, and if you’re working out for much more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time, you’re most likely doing a moderate intensity workout, not a high intensity one,” she says.
    READ MORE: Caley Jäck’s Simple Formula For Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle
    Got it? Here’s your workout…
    You’ll need: A timer
    Do the following exercises in order. Perform as many reps as you can with good form in 30 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Do three rounds total, never resting longer than 10 seconds. If you’re relatively new to HIIT workouts, do this routine no more than two or three days a week, but do light activity like walking on the other days.
    More advanced? You can do the workout four or five days a week – but be sure to take one full rest day. For best results, Krista recommends you supplement your workouts with moving more in everyday life – take the stairs, go for a walk at lunchtime or catch up with friends over a hike rather than lunch.
    READ MORE: I Tried The Planet Fitness FitBuddy App – Here’s What I Think
    Make it work for you
    Working out at super high intensity isn’t a good idea for beginners. If you’re just starting out, get used to moving first, says Krista. For six months, aim to walk every day or cycle a few days a week before you dial it up. Similarly, if you’re susceptible to joint injuries – or are currently injured – you’re better off swapping all the jumping for lower impact moves.
    You can also tailor any move to suit your fitness level. Can’t do a push-up? Make it easier by placing your hands on a higher surface like a chair or counter top. Body weight push-ups way too easy? Add a band to increase resistance or get plyometric with clapping or even superman push-ups. Need motivation to push harder? Count your reps during each interval and write them down. Next time you do the workout, try to beat your previous reps.
    READ MORE: A 4-Week Home Workout Plan To Get Fit And Strong AF
    Your moves
    1/ Burpee tuck jumps
    From standing, squat down and jump your feet back into the top of a push-up. Do one push-up. Immediately jump your feet back towards your hands, then jump straight up as you tuck your knees towards your chest. That’s one rep.
    [embedded content]
    2/ Push-up plank jumps
    Start in the top of a push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands. Push through your shoulders as you tighten your abs, glutes and quads. Lower your chest towards the floor. You should aim to touch or almost touch your chest to the floor while keeping your gaze slightly in front of your hands. Push yourself back up to start, then immediately jump your feet forward towards your hands while keeping your core tight. Jump your feet back to start. That’s one rep.
    Too hard? Place your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop or bench. The higher the surface, the easier the exercise will be.
    [embedded content]
    READ MORE: This 15-Minute Skipping Rope Workout Will Transform Your Arms And Abs
    3/ Snowboarder jumps
    Start in a squat position with one hand reaching towards the floor. Jump up as high as you can, rotating 180 degrees midair. Land back in a squat position, reaching towards the floor with the opposite hand. That’s one rep. Alternate directions on each rep.
    [embedded content]
    4/ Pike jumps
    Start in a piked position with your hands on the floor in front of you about shoulder-width apart. Jump your feet up as far as possible and land on one side. Trying not to pause, immediately jump to other side. Continue alternating.
    [embedded content]
    5/ Side lunges
    Stand straight with your legs wider than hip-width apart. Bend one knee and lower down as far as you can to one side while keeping the other leg straight to the side. Return to start and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating.
    [embedded content]
    6/ Split leg V-up combo
    Lie on your back with your arms straight above your head and your legs straight. Pull your belly button towards the floor, then raise your right leg as you reach both arms towards your right foot at the same time. Lower back down, then repeat on the left side. Next, raise both legs up at once as you reach your hands towards your toes. That’s one rep.
    [embedded content]

    Want more 12 Minute Athlete workouts? Krista’s 12 Minute Athlete app is free for download, then choose which workouts you’d like to purchase, from R15 each. You can also download the 12-Minute Athlete Timer app, totally free.

    READ MORE ON: 15 Minute Workouts Bodyweight Workouts Fat Burning Workouts Fitness HIIT Workouts More