The Three Lions aces were pictured recovering between games doing the low lunge, or Anjaneyasana in yoga-speak. Jenny Francis brings you our World Cup-inspired couples’ yoga – with Lex Farr and Amy Lynch, both 26, of Dagenham, Essex, trying it out. Footballs show their marks out of five for each move.
ONE of you gets into a Downward Dog position while the other stands in front with their back to them.
They must then put their hands on the floor and manoeuvre their legs on to the other’s back, creating an L-shape with their body.
GOOD FOR: The body gets a full stretch and it also helps to relieve stress, headaches and tiredness, while improving digestio.n
STAND with your feet wide apart, the right foot facing forward and left foot at 90 degrees. Your partner should be a mirror image. Stretch out arms.
Reach down your right leg with your right arm, placing your hand on either the leg or foot, while pointing your left hand to the sky.
GOOD FOR: Stretching leg muscles, particularly around the knee and ankle joints, and stimulates abdominal organs while relieving stress.
The Penalty Shootout
GET into a Side Plank position so your elbow is in line with your shoulder. Your feet and those of your partner should be touching.
Lift up your top leg and raise your arm to the sky, keeping it in line with your shoulder.
GOOD FOR: Balance and concentration, strengthening wrists, arms and shoulders, plus core muscles.
The Red Card
FROM standing, shift your weight on to your right foot, lifting your left foot off the floor and bending your left knee to bring the sole of your left foot on to your inner right thigh.
Keep both hips squared toward the front and lift your arms – palms together – to the sky.
GOOD FOR: This version of the tree position strengthens ankles and feet and helps improve concentration and posture, which in turn boosts your self-esteem.
SIT opposite one another with one leg straight out, the other bent inward so the sole of your foot is touching your inner thigh.
With chest up, sit forward slightly and reach as far as you can without curving your back and shoulders forward.
GOOD FOR: The seated forward bend helps muscles recover, lengthens hamstrings and the back, and aids sleep.
KNEEL on the floor, facing one another.
With toes tucked under, stand on your knees then slowly drop backward until you can grab your ankles, and allow the head to drop back. Keep glutes engaged.
GOOD FOR: The Camel Position expands the abdominal region and improves digestion while opening the hips and relieving lower-back pain.
HE gets into high Plank position on floor, back straight. She forms a Plank, holding on to his ankles and resting her feet on his shoulders.
GOOD FOR: Builds biceps and tones bum.
The Open Goal
STAND with feet hip-distance apart, at least a metre from and facing your partner.
Push hips back and reach arms forward until you both touch palms – it’s a sort of standing Downward Dog position.
GOOD FOR: This is the ultimate hamstring- lengthener and also strengthens the back, meaning it’s great for improving posture.
STAND in a high lunge and power up through the back leg so you are pointing the heel up.
Make sure both hips face forward and lift both arms to the sky.
GOOD FOR: Strengthening the lower body. It also helps lengthen the spine and opens up the chest. Eases indigestion and constipation.
World Cup Warrior
STAND with your feet wide apart, the front foot facing forward and back foot at 90 degrees.
your back leg straight and bend the front knee, making sure it is directly over front ankle. Keep your arms out straight.
GOOD FOR: Stretches the hip flexors to open hips while strengthening legs and improving balance and stability.
Why you should practise
OFTEN when the word yoga comes up, people yawn and think of sitting still for hours, but the benefits are endless, writes London-based yoga instructor SARAH MALCOLM, 27.
Not only does it bring ease and length to tired muscles and improve your strength, balance and co-ordination, it also has a wealth of health benefits.
Moving your body around in this way can aid digestion, relieve stress or depression and even make you feel more confident.
All of these things are great for football players, pre-game and on the pitch.
Practising yoga alongside other sports works to aid muscle recovery post-exercise, and joint and muscle mobility pre-exercise, and it also relaxes the nervous system.
The word yoga comes from the verb “to yolk” which means “to unite”, proving it’s a great way to bring unity into a team practice or a relationship. But you don’t have to be sporty to reap the benefits.
Partner yoga brings you closer through physical touch, encourages you to take risks together and trust one another. Yoga also improves your self-confidence and self-esteem, making you feel both relaxed and powerful – which many yogis say helps improve your sex life too.
A better night’s sleep, improved focus in the day and happier mood are all reasons to sign up.
- For more information see sarahmalcolm.co.uk.
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