Here’s the scene: You wake up, get ready for work, commute to the office, then sit down at your desk for a busy ahead. The day is so busy, in fact, that you have an intern go pick up lunch so you can eat at your desk and continue working through the afternoon. When your day is over, you drive home to eat dinner and throw on your favorite TV show. This is a pretty average day, and it revolves around one main position: sitting. A sedentary lifestyle, one with very little activity, can be extremely hard on your health and body. Research at the American Osteopathic Association claims that a sedentary life could be just as dangerous, if not more so than smoking. Wired Magazine even claimed that sitting is the new smoking, alluding to how dangerous it really is. But don’t start worrying just yet…
One of the most helpful remedies to relieve tight shoulders, a stiff neck, and cramping hip joints from sitting all day is simply practicing the right yoga postures. So, for those of you who aren’t able to walk much during the day or can’t squeeze in a morning workout before heading to the office, I’ve come up with a little routine you can do post-office hours that will improve your bone health and stretch out those muscles.
Today I’ll be sharing the five best yoga poses to do after leaving the office, all illustrated by our amazing LaurenConrad.com illustration Carrie Beth Taylor. This flow is a great way to get your circulation going after busy day, and it’s a great way to clear your mind, too. Without further ado…
The After Work Yoga Flow
If you are a regular yogi, you know that downward dog is the foundational pose of most yoga flows. It’s home base. And it’s also the best move you can do after sitting all day. It stretches your shoulders, lengthens your back, and gets blood flowing to your brain. Simply make your body into an inverted “V” shape, and push your hands into the floor to stretch your legs and back.
This pose may seem simple, but you’d be surprised at how much good it can do for those sitting joints. Stand comfortably with your feet hips-width apart and reach your arms to the sky. Then move your torso backwards into a slight backbend and let your neck and head relax. You should feel a lengthening in your legs and an opening in your chest muscles.
One of the best poses for stress and anxiety, forward bend is a position you should be implementing into your everyday routine. And the best part is that you can do it anywhere (even on your lunch break!). According to Huffington Post, this post provides a feeling of release in your body and mind, allowing you to let go of anything hectic that’s going on at work. Stand with your feet hips-width apart, bend your kneed slightly, and fold your hips down to the ground. Let your arms and neck hang for at least one minute for a full release.
This back bend not only feels good after sitting all day, it also lengthens your spine and opens up your chest and shoulders. Lay on the ground with your arms bent and place your hands directly under you shoulders, as though you’re about to do a push up. Then gently straighten your arms, bringing your chest up off the ground. If this feels comfortable, you can eventually graduate onto an Upward Dog pose, where you lift up your thigh and hips as well.
Good old fashioned “criss cross applesauce” is actually an incredible yoga pose that opens up your hips and lower body. It’s a great way to ease any tightness you may feel from sitting for a long time. Sit on your hip bones with your back straight and your knees out to either side. Focus on melting your knees lower to the ground, gently, to really give your hips a stretch.
And there you have it! Our very own LaurenConrad.com yoga flow…
With all of these poses, remember to breathe deeply, letting go of any stresses from the day. Breathing alone is a very cleansing process for the body, so don’t underestimate it. And remember, these poses are just suggestions. If you have any injuries or if something feels wrong when trying this flow, consult with a health professional and make sure you’re doing what’s right for your body.
How do you stay active during the work day?
Do you have any stretches that help you to relax post-office?
Another big thank you to Miss Carrie Beth Taylor for sharing her gorgeous illustrations!