Yoga Moves That Bonnie Mbuli Swears By
“The quickest way to bring my mind and my soul into alignment is to discipline my body. If I discipline my body, I’m more likely to choose the right meal after I’ve worked out. I’m more likely to go and pray because I feel good. I’m more likely to make a better decision about something I need to do concerning work. I’m highly likely to have more energy to do the things I’m supposed to do. I’m more likely to look at the world in a positive way. So I use exercise as a tool for mastering myself,” enthuses the 42-year-old actress and author. The mom of two boys, who covers our Jan/Feb 2022 issue, shares that she’s learnt that mind, body, soul and spirit are all aligned. She adds, “When one is out of whack, all of them get scattered!”
Here are Bonnie’s go-to yoga moves. Get ready to feel calm, strong, and bendy.
Bonnie’s Take: “It’s a superb hamstring stretcher – and mine are always tight! There’s also something about this position that forces me to fully face myself.”
Master The Move: Start in a high plank. 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.
Bonnie’s Take: “It improves circulation and challenges my fears. I used to pull off headstands effortlessly as a child. Now, I can only master them against a wall! I think it’s fear though.”
Master The Move: Begin by interlacing your fingers and placing your forearms on the mat, parallel, palms facing each other. Cup the back of your head in your hands, the top of your head on the floor. Take five breaths here. Then, pushing down through shoulders and forearms, lift one foot up into the air, knee bent. Using your core, lift the other to meet it. Brace abs and squeeze glutes and leg muscles, as you slowly straighten legs upwards, pointing toes. Your body should feel like a solid, secure cylinder, with minimal weight on head and neck. Hold for three breaths, then slowly lower legs back down.
Bonnie’s Take: “It reminds me to strike a balance between being strong and vulnerable.”
Master The Move: Begin in warrior pose with the right leg in front. Gently step your front foot one to two steps over to the right with your toes slightly turning right to keep the groin open and protect your knee. Interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale to expand your chest and lungs. As you exhale, continue to keep your heart open and gently bow forward. Your right shoulder may nudge your right leg even further to the right as you release your pelvis and drop deeper into the pose.
Any Hip Openers
Bonnie’s Take: “Hips are where we house our trapped emotions and trauma. Hip stretchers remind me to keep my heart open.”
Master It: Happy baby is a beginner-friendly pose. 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.