I tried this 20-minute yoga routine to see if it'd improve my posture, and it transformed my mood

This short yoga routine is ideal for first thing in the morning or as a quick lunch break boost for your body and mind

Woman on balcony doing sukhasana yoga pose, which involves sitting cross legged on the floor.
(Image credit: Alice Porter)

I work from home, which has a lot of perks, but it can be hard to keep focused and positive. Plus, I end up sitting down for much of the day, which isn't great for my posture or for staving off lower back pain. 

I try to make it out for a short walk every day but I still sometimes feel stiff when I sit back down at my desk in the afternoon. Plus, come 3pm, I tend to feel tired and struggle to concentrate on my work.

That's why I decided to try this short yoga session during my lunch break. You don't need lots of equipment, just one of the best yoga mats will do, or loads of time as the session is just 20 minutes. 

I do yoga on a regular basis, but usually at the weekend at my local studio. However in the past I've tried Yoga With Adriene's YouTube practices, which are great for beginners, with intermediate options too.

Watch Yoga With Adriene's "Love Wins" yoga flow

Fortunately, today was a sunny day so I headed out onto my balcony for this practice, taking my sun salutations very seriously. It started with a meditation, sitting in sukhasana (cross-legged pose) with some breathing exercises.

I noticed that my shoulders were hunched up and even my face was holding onto tension. Just five minutes of meditation made me relax, helping me to enjoy the rest of the practice far more.

And the hip-opening positions like reverse warrior helped relieve some of the tightness I've had in my hips lately. You take a lunge position with one foot facing the front of your mat and the other at 90 degrees, a pose known as Warrior II. 

Then, you raise your front arm up and towards the back of your mat to open up your side body and hips. As this only works one side, Yoga with Adriene's session balances this out, getting you to do the same on the other side. 

Woman doing reverse warrior yoga pose on balcony

(Image credit: Getty)

I felt calmer, happier, and ready to get on with work after this short practice. Plus, I noticed myself sitting up straighter while working and I was definitely able to focus more during the afternoon, having spent some time stretching outside.

Although i did this on my lunch break, it's not always easy to find time in the middle of the day. But if you're after a similar mood-boost, this morning yoga routine helps you gradually ease into the day. 

If a dedicated class isn't on the cards, you might prefer these yoga stretches for beginners that you can incorporate into your usual training or take short breaks throughout the day for a quick stretch, 

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.