The world has embraced more of a work from home experience, but that can also mean hours sitting hunched over a laptop, possibly not at optimal height, from a not-so-supportive chair. Thankfully, we have yoga to help combat the hunching in the back, the jetting forward of the neck and the low back pain that can come from hours spent working over a computer.
Try to weave some of these postures into your yoga practice during these less traditional work days, or just hop out of your desk chair and onto your mat like me and try one or two between projects to take extra good care of your body.
Lay down on your belly, and place your palms under your shoulders. As you inhale, lift your chest from the mat and hug the elbows in towards your sides and your shoulders down and away from your ears as you feel your front body open, core begin to engage and length in your neck and spine. Try to tuck your chin slightly to keep a long line from your spine through the crown of your head as you press down through the pelvic bone and feet. Try one and press back to childs pose or take a few rolling cobras using your breath by inhaling to lift and exhaling to bring your chest back down towards the ground.
Cobra variation with shoulder dip
Cobra variation with shoulder dip is similar to baby cobra, but you have your hands on the outside edges of your mat with your fingertips pressing into the floor causing your hands to tent (palms are lifted). Start with your elbows pointing up and your fingertips wide of the mat with the forehead on the floor and as you inhale, press into the tops of the feet, pelvic bone, and fingertips to peel the chest up off the mat. As you exhale, dip the left shoulder towards the floor and look over your right shoulder. The inhale will bring you back through center, and then exhale to swap sides.
Come to table top with your wrists stacked under your shoulders and your knees right under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and as you inhale, dip the belly down towards the floor as you feel your tailbone and chest lift up. As you exhale, press your hands with your fingers wide into the floor and round the spine, tucking tailbone and chin. Repeat as many times as you need and feel free to freestyle adding in additional movement that calls to you here!
Thread the needle
From table top position, sweep your right arm to the sky as you feel the right shoulder start top peel open on top of the left. Reach up through the right fingers, feel the chest open and the core engage. Try to keep the right hip right over your knee as you open, and with your exhale, thread the right arm under the left and allow the shoulder and ear to rest on the mat. Press the left hand into the mat under your left shoulder, and the back of the right arm and shoulder to feel a great opening in the shoulder and savor this twist! To exit the twist, press into the left hand and sweep the right arm back to the sky as you inhale, reopening the chest reaching the right hand to the sky and then exhale to return to table top. Do both sides.
Having a strong core is great for many reasons, but especially because it helps with posture and preventing back pain. Forearm plank strengthens your core without any irritation on the wrists. To find yourself in forearm plank, begin in kneeling position and bring your elbows under your shoulders and extend the forearms in front of you in a number 11. With the palms wide (or you can make fists), you begin to straighten and lift the legs as you press into the balls of your feet pressing your body into a plank. Feel length from the crown of your head through your heels and press out through your heels as you knit the low ribs in engaging the core. Do your best to keep your body in a straight line and to not drop the head, adding unnecessary weight to the plank! Make sure you are breathing here and when you are ready to come down, you can lower the knees, un-tuck the toes and lift the chest stretching the front body in sphinx pose.
Low lunge with shoulder shrugs
Start in a runners lunge with your right knee bent over your right ankle and the left leg long behind you. Lower the left knee and reach the arms up to the sky for low lunge. If you don’t feel much in your psoas, you might inch the right ankle forward and bend the knee so it finds its way right over the right ankle. If your left knee is uncomfortable, place a blanket underneath or roll your mat over itself. As you inhale, lengthen the sidebody and reach the fingertips up to the sky. With the exhale, shoulder shrug and bend at the elbows to find a goal post shape with the arms. If you choose, add a little backbend here. You can repeat, lifting the arms straight and bending the elbows with the exhales, or at the bottom of the exhale, clasp hands behind your low back to focus more on shoulder opening.
Rag doll with with hands holding elbows
Come to the top of your mat and bring your feet at least hips width distance apart. With a loose bend in your knees fold over your legs and hold on to opposite elbows letting the head hang heavy between the arm bones. Invite length into the spine and relax your face and jaw. Find stillness and breathe or sway side to side.
Seated butterfly + forward fold
Come to your seat, and elevate your hips on a block or blanket if your hips are particularly tight. Bring the soles of the feet together and knees wide - the feet can be as close or far from the body as feels comfortable to you. Option to hold onto your ankles or shins and lift the chest as you inhale and fold forward with a long spine over your legs as you exhale.
Half straddle with side bend
Extend your left leg out to the side and bring your right foot to your inner left thigh to half straddle. Lay your left arm down on the inside of the long left leg and reach up and over towards your left toes with the right arm as you lengthen the sidebody and sink your right hip down towards the floor. Press your left arm into your inner left leg to keep rotating the chest open rolling the right shoulder open ontop of the left.
Neck / forearm stretch
Find a comfortable seat and stretch your right arm out to the side like you’re telling someone next to you to stop. Press through the heel of your hand and flex your fingertips back towards your face as you drop your left ear down towards your left shoulder. Your left fingertips can be tented beside you, or to assist your neck stretch, bring your your left hand to your right ear and gently deepen the stretch. Take it on the other side. This is great after a lot of typing to stretch out the forearms and loosen the neck.
Lay down on your back and hug your right knee into your chest as you extend your left leg long. Guide your right knee across your chest and allow your body to feel heavy in this twist breathing deeply. Arms can come out to a ‘T’ or you can rest your left hand on the outside of the right knee and extend your right arm out to the side.
Lay down on your back and bend your knees. Separate the knees and reach on the inside of your legs to take a hold of the outer edges of your feet. Guide the knees closer to your elbows. If you find your low back coming up from the floor, take the hands behind the knees instead of holding on to the feet. Feel the low back widen and soften and the hips gently open. Breathe in stillness or rock side to side.
You can find an abbreviated version of this post on Practyce's blog! Thank you for reading.
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