Three 15-minute yoga routines to start your day right

Our program of three 15-minute yoga routines will build strength and flexibility while restoring calm

Woman doing a 15-minute yoga routine
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yoga isn’t just a one-trick workout pony, designed to leave you feeling relaxed and restored. 

Don’t get us wrong, we love its restorative effects – in fact, with hectic schedules and high-intensity workouts (think running, cycling, Zumba) dominating our lives, it’s often something we could all do a little bit more of. But this ancient practice has so much more to offer.

‘Yoga is a great way to calm down – even a short session can help reduce stress, increase blood flow around our body and clear our mind – but with over 80 styles to choose from, it’s also a full fitness programme offering strength, flexibility and cardio too,’ says Lucy Edge, yoga advocate, author and self-dubbed 'yogipreneur'.

And, as Lucy adds: 'Research has shown you don’t have to spend hours on your mat to reap the benefits.'

With this in mind, Lucy has created three revitalising 15-minute yoga sessions, which are a great addition to your regular workout routine. All you need is a mat (take a look at our pick of the best yoga mats if you don't already own one) and three lots of 15 minutes you can spare a week.

 ‘They’ll help increase focus during a busy week, prevent injury by strengthening and lengthening muscles safely, and are worth a dozen sit-ups when it comes to targeting your core,’ she shares. Sounds like a no-brainer to us.

Aim to do each 15-minute routine once a week over a four-week period to really feel the benefits. We've indicated how many rounds to do as the weeks go by, along with how long to rest between rounds.

Sun Salutation A – Flexibility

  1. Mountain Pose: Starting standing with your feet together, tall and strong, and your arms slightly out to your sides. 
  2. Raised Arms Pose: Inhaling, stretch your hands above your head, fingers pointing up and palms together, lengthening through spine.
  3. Forward Fold: Exhale to a forward fold, bending the knees if needed. Inhale. 
  4. Upward-Facing Dog: Inhale as you place your palms beneath the shoulders, raising your hips off floor, and stretching your head and neck gently upwards.
  5. Downward-Facing Dog: Exhaling, tuck your toes under and bring your hips up to form an inverted V. Take three breaths. Look forward and step to the top of your mat.
  6. Raised Arms Pose: Inhaling, raise hands above your head, gently lengthening through your neck and back. 
  7. Mountain Pose: Exhaling, return hands to your sides and stand tall.

Mountain Pose

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Woman doing a yoga mountain pose

(Image credit: Future)

Mountain Pose

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Woman doing a yoga mountain pose

(Image credit: Future)

Sun Salutation A – Flexibility: 4-week program

  • Week 1: Hold each pose for 5 breaths (5 inhales and 5 exhales). Do 3 rounds. Rest for 1 minute between each round. 
  • Week 2: Repeat as Week 1 but do 5 rounds. Reduce rest time between rounds to 30 seconds. 
  • Week 3: Do 8 rounds and reduce rest time between rounds to 15 seconds. Finish with breathing exercise. Hold pause for a count of 5.
  • Week 4: Do 10 rounds with no rest in between.

Sun Salutation B – Strength

For this routine, you'll repeat Sun Salutation, adding two new poses for strength and endurance. 

  • Chair Pose: After Forward Fold, exhale as you bend your knees, as if lowering into a chair, sitting back to see your toes. Keep the spine long and reach through the fingertips. Draw the shoulder blades back and down.
  • Warrior One: After Downward-facing Dog, inhale, turning your left foot to a 45° angle and stepping your right foot to the front of the mat. Exhale and square your pelvis and sternum to the front of mat. Bend the front knee to 90° (in line with the middle toe). Reach your arms above head, lifting your rib cage and opening the chest. 

Chair Pose

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Woman doing Chair Pose in yoga

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chair Pose

Image 1 of 2

Woman doing Chair Pose in yoga

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sun Salutation B – Strength: 4-week program

  • Week 1: Hold each pose for 5 breaths (5 inhales and 5 exhales). Do 3 rounds. Rest for 1 minute between each round. 
  • Week 2: Repeat as Week 1 but do 5 rounds. Reduce rest time between rounds to 30 seconds. 
  • Week 3: Do 8 rounds and reduce rest time between rounds to 15 seconds. Finish with breathing exercise. Hold pause for a count of 5.
  • Week 4: Do 10 rounds with no rest in between.

Moon Salutation – Calm

Once again, repeat Sun Salutation A, but this time add one new pose and a breathing exercise for calm.

  • Equestrian Pose: After Forward Fold, exhale as you step back with right leg, and lower knee to mat. Hold head up, raising hands above head. Repeat on other side.
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing: Sit with cross legs. Rest your left hand on your left knee, with your thumb and first finger touching. Use the thumb of your right hand to close the right nostril and inhale through the left one. Pause, then exhale. Repeat with alternating nostrils after each inhalation.

Woman doing Equestrian yoga pose

Equestrian pose

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Moon Salutation - Calm: 4-week program

  • Week 1: Do 3 rounds. Rest for 1 minute between each round. Finish with breathing exercise. Hold the pause between nostrils for a count of 1.
  • Week 2: Repeat as Week 1, but do 5 rounds. Reduce rest time between rounds to 30 seconds. Finish with breathing exercise. Hold pause for a count of 3. 
  • Week 3: Do 8 rounds and reduce rest time between rounds to 15 seconds. Finish with breathing exercise. Hold pause for a count of 5. 
  • Week 4: Do 10 rounds with no rest in between. Finish with breathing exercise and hold pause for count of 5.