Have you ever finished a work day feeling stiff and bone-weary? I bet most people would answer this yes. It can feel confusing to have sat still for the day and felt so tired. But sitting at a desk is not as restful as it may appear. Our bodies are dealing with postural changes, subtle muscle movements, and other issues throughout the day. And if we don’t spend some time every day moving, our bodies get locked in this posture, making it difficult to ease out of work and into our personal time, whether it’s a family dinner, or a night out with friends. Luckily, yoga has a solution to easing the muscles of the body without taxing them further as well as giving you a breath+movement practice that will help you shift your brain from work to play.
Try this yoga sequence the next time you catch yourself ending your work day and need to transition to personal time in a way that settles the mind and refreshes the body.
Begin by closing your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath. Just allow it to happen, air going in and air going out. Follow it in and follow it out. Allow you body to respond to the breath, expanding and softening. Over and over. Take as long to do this as you wish, at least one minute.
Take Up Space and Connect to Breath
When it feels right, open your eyes. And with an inhale, lift your arms wide and high, taking up a lot of space. Exhale and bring your palms together over your heart. Do this three times, inhale the arms high and exhale hands to heart.
Release The Spine
Gently releasing your hands to your knees. Inhale and lift the heart up, gaze up and forward (as though looking at the joint between wall and ceiling). Exhale and bow chin to chest while sending the spine back towards the back of your chair. Belly Button to spine. Cycle through these two poses a few times, inhaling the heart up and exhaling the spine back. Then softly return to a neutral seated position.
Wring It Out
Place your right hand on your left knee, or arm rest. Left hand reaches behind you, on the chair back or reaching out beyond. An alternative is to place your left hand on the back of your neck and open the elbow, if you are in a small space. Inhale and open the chest to the left. Exhale and soften into the twist. Stay here for 3-5 breaths, opening and softening. Release back to center and repeat on the other side.
Loosen Your Hips
Bring your hips to the front edge of your chair. lift your right knee towards your chest and catch it with your hands. Gently pull the knee into the chest and breath into this squeeze. The left foot can stay planted, or you can lengthen the left leg out in front of you. Lean back into the chair back to increase the stretch. Stay here 3-5 breaths, then release and repeat on the other side.
With both feet on the floor, and hips on the edge of the seat, walk your feet out a little wider than hip width. From here, turn the right knee inward and down as you turn towards the left. If you have a swivel chair, you can just swivel to the left. Otherwise, adjust your hips so that your right knee is reaching down as you keep the left knee bent. Hips stay on the edge of the seat. Both legs should be in roughly a 90 degree bend at the knee. Breath into this opening of the front of the right hip for 3-5 breaths then return to center and repeat on the other side.
I originally posted this sequence in a live stream for a Facebook group I belong to. The women who did the sequence said it really helped them.
Thanks for reading!