Meditate, Move, and Practice Self-Care With This 20-Minute Mindful Workout
Most workouts help you improve your cardiorespiratory fitness or help you to build muscle and get stronger, but sometimes you simply need something that focuses on your inner wellness. Taylor Elyse Morrison, an AFAA-certified trainer and an RYT, knows focusing on what's happening with you mentally and emotionally is just as important as your physical health, which is why she created Inner Workout.
"Inner Workout is the culmination of a years-long self-care journey," Morrison told POPSUGAR. "I found myself regularly facing burnout, and I realized that my surface-level approach to self-care wasn't working," she said. Morrison then redefined self-care for herself, describing it as "listening within and responding in the most loving way possible." Desiring a practice that would help develop her ability to listen within and lovingly respond to herself, she created Inner Workout.
"The practice is rooted in the yogic concept of koshas (metaphorical layers within the human body), and each class seamlessly blends movement, breathwork, journaling, and meditation," Morrison explained. This workout is completely different than a HIIT workout, but it's equally as important to focus on what's going on internally, not just the physical aspect of wellness. "An Inner Workout isn't about changing your body. It's about getting to know yourself. Our practice helps you meaningfully practice self-care both on and off the mat," Morrison said.
If you're in need of something that will help you alleviate stress and tension while gently showing your body some TLC, get ready to do some inner work.
Taylor Elyse Morrison's 20-Minute Inner Workout
- Plank walkout: 10 reps
- Cat Cow to Child's Pose: five reps
- Knees to chest: one minute
- Breathwork: three minutes
- Journaling: seven minutes
- Meditation and free flow: two to five minutes (or however long you prefer)
- Start standing at the back of your mat with your feet hips-width apart.
- Engage your core and keep your back flat as you bend forward, hinging at your hips to bring your hands to the mat. This position brings length to the back of the legs. If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees a bit to take tension off the muscles.
- Walk your hands forward, moving into a plank, and hold each step to stretch your calves a bit. This warms up the shoulders and hands nicely.
- Hold the plank for a few seconds to really wake up your core.
- From your plank, walk your hands back to your feet until you are in another forward bend. Slowly roll up to standing, letting your head hang and keeping your neck relaxed. This counts as one rep.
- Repeat for a total of 10 reps.
Cat Cow to Child's Pose
- Begin with your hands and knees on the floor and your spine in a neutral position, meaning your back is flat. Make sure your knees are under your hips, your wrists are under your shoulders, and your abs are engaged. Take a big deep inhale.
- On the exhale, round your spine up toward the ceiling, and imagine you're pulling your belly button up toward your spine to keep your abs engaged. Tuck your chin toward your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
- On your inhale, arch your back, letting your stomach muscles relax. Lift your head and tailbone up toward the sky — without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck.
- From here, take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, shift your hips backward and lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders. If necessary, feel free to adjust the width of your hips, positioning them wider or more narrow.
- With control, return to the starting position. This counts as one rep.
- Repeat for a total of five reps.
Knees to Chest
- Lie on your back, bending your knees into your chest and clasping your hands around both shins.
- Gently pull down to increase the stretch in the lower back. If you feel comfortable, you can begin to gently rock your body from side to side, massaging your back and spine.
- Hold this position for one minute.
For the breathwork portion of the workout, Morrison said to focus on extended exhales in order to allow your nervous system to relax. Get in a position you find comfortable, such as sitting or lying on your back, and breathe in for three counts and try to exhale for six counts. Repeat for three minutes.
After you complete the breathwork, take time to reflect on the following journal prompts: What's making me feel connected to myself and others? What's distracting me? (This should take around seven minutes, but take as much or as little time as you need.)
Meditation and Flow
Once you've completed the journaling prompts, you'll move on to a meditation. This is your practice, so do what's best for you, whether that's focusing on your breath or repeating a word or mantra to yourself to stay in the present moment. How long you meditate is up to you. We recommend beginners start with two minutes and more advanced people aim for five minutes.
Once you've completed the meditation, take two deep breaths and check in with yourself to see if there's anything else you need from the practice. That could be returning to your journaling prompt, doing a few more movements, or simple resting for a few minutes. Do what feels best to you.