Since moving to WFH, we’re spending even more time in front of our computers and on our less-than-ergonomic chairs. Thankfully, being at home also means the freedom to pull out your yoga mat and stretch out your body between calls. Not sure where to start? Our step-by-step guide breaks down easy moves designed to target aches and pains.
HAPPY BABY POSE
Just the name of this pose is enough to get you in better spirits. An easy, gentle move usually positioned near the end of a class, it not only relieves stress and fatigue, it also reduces lower back pain and opens up the hips, hamstrings, inner thighs, and groin. While you’re in this position, you’ll resemble a baby lying happily in its crib - ah, sweet memories of simpler times.
- Lie flat on your back, bend your knees towards your chest and face the soles of your feet towards the ceiling.
- Grab your feet, spread your knees apart, and flex your heels into your hand.
- Rock from side to side.
Also known as the Cobbler Pose or Bound Angle Pose, sitting cross-legged on the floor might appear easy to some. However, the seemingly simple habit - one that most adults have forsaken - actually helps to open the hips, stretch the inner thigh muscles, strengthen your core, activate back muscles, and improve your posture. Essentially, it counteracts the effects of spending too much time at a desk - potentially inspiring us to move our laptops to our yoga mats.
- Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall to either side.
- Draw the soles of your feet together.
- Sit up tall while pressing your shoulder blades against your upper back and your shoulders away from your ears.
DOWNWARD DOG POSE
The quintessential yoga pose for good reason, the downward-facing dog pose is a great stretch for those with tight hamstrings and calves. It also strengthens your arms, legs and obliques while helping you feel calm and centred.
- Start with your palms and feet on the ground and your head down.
- Lift your hips and push your body back into a V-shaped position.
- Palms should be just past your shoulders, fingers pointing forwards and spread apart.
- Keep feet hip-width apart and hips raised as high as possible.
The cobra pose might initially look and feel a little unnatural, but the multifunctional backbend targets back pain, shoulder tightness, and upper body soreness. It increases the mobility of the spine, strengthens spinal support muscles, and opens the chest.
- Lie on your belly with your feet hip-width apart and extend your toes back.
- With your palms flat on the ground beside your ribs, keep your elbows close to your sides.
- Inhale, press down with your hands, and lift your chest.
- Roll your shoulders back, keeping your neck neutral and your lower ribs on the floor.
- Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your elbows near your sides.
Combining two moves, this stretching sequence is said to improve posture and balance. Flexing and extending the spine can help promote circulation in the discs in your back and ease any back pain.
- Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- To move into cow pose, drop your belly towards the mat.
- Lift your chin and chest, gaze up at the ceiling, and draw your shoulders away from your ears.
- Come into cat pose while rounding your back towards the ceiling and tucking in your tailbone.
- Release your head towards the floor while relaxing your chin.
Look to the reinvigorating realm of nature by emulating a sturdy yet resilient tree. This pose strengthens the legs and core, opens the hips, and stretches the inner thigh and groin muscles. Some might struggle with standing on one leg, but the exercise is useful for developing better balance.
- Spread your toes, pressing your feet into the mat.
- Place your hands on your hips and rest your right foot on the inside of your left thigh.
- Press your right foot and left leg into each other.
- Keep both hips squared towards the front.
- When you feel steady, you can place your hands at the heart, lift your arms towards the ceiling and bring the palms to touch, or make a “V” shape with your arms overhead.
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