Yoga teacher Carla Papas of MerryBody Online Studio shares easy postures that will make you feel more energised while working from home.
1. Forward fold with shoulder stretch
Start with a beautiful forward fold to welcome space into the back of the body. Feel the spine lengthen, the legs stretch, as well as the chest, neck and shoulders release - all common places to feel tension in the body... especially if you’ve been staring at a computer all morning!
With your feet hip distance apart, make one big fist behind your booty. Inhale, lengthen the arms, shine the heart, then exhale forward fold hinging from the hips, allowing the arms to fall over the head. Bend the knees as much as you need and try to press the palms together. Perhaps give your head a little shake to release any tension in the shoulders and neck.
Hold for 5-10 nasal breaths.
2. Dolphin pose
Dolphin Pose is a strengthening inversion for the mind and body. It encourages fresh blood to flush to the brain, increasing your clarity. Use this upside down time as an opportunity to release unnecessary, repetitive, and stressful thoughts from the mind (very important during your work day). Plus this pose opens your heart, and stretches your spine and hamstrings.
Start in a forearm plank position to get your length correct, your elbows should be under shoulders, palms are flat, and there is one straight line from head to heels. Inhale to prepare and exhale lift the hips toward the sky, making an upside down ‘V’ shape with the body. Press your hands and forearms into the Earth, your heart through toward your thighs, feel the shoulders drop away from the ears and gaze toward the knees. If you struggle with your hamstring flexibility here, bring a microbend to both knees as this allows more space within the pose. This pose requires a lot of shoulder strength, if it’s too much, find a Downward Facing Dog instead.
Hold for 5-10 nasal breaths.
3. Eagle pose
This balancing posture really helps you to focus and create a clear mind. You can’t think of much else when you’re standing on one leg, you will notice distractions begin to fade away as you attempt to keep yourself stable and strong.
Bring your right thigh over your left thigh, continue to wrap your right foot around your left calf. Sit low in the booty. Squeeze the inner thighs together. Inhale, open your arms to shoulder height, exhale, take the right elbow under left, keep wrapping the forearms and connect the palms. Try to keep the elbows at shoulder height. Find one point of focus and balance, this helps to calm the mind and de-stress the body. If you can’t press the palms, simply reach for your wrist.
Hold for 5-10 nasal breaths, then swap sides. This move is tough!
4. Supine twist
It’s time to slow it all down and come down to the Earth for a spinal twist. If you’ve been sitting for too long, this move is just what you need. For your spinal health it’s important to move your spine in all directions: flexion, extension, lateral, and twisting. Twisting helps to improve your posture and overall energy levels, plus, it feels great!
Lay down onto the Earth with your legs long. As you inhale through the nose squeeze the right knee into your chest, as you exhale through the nose twist the knee all the way over to the left so it reaches the ground. Allow your right arm to open wide to shoulder height, and you can use your left hand to keep your right knee grounded. Gaze toward the sky or toward the right hand for an extra neck stretch. If this is too much, you can simply sit on a chair and twist the torso.
Hold for 5 nasal breaths, then swap sides.
5. Mountain pose
Now, it’s time to ground, reset, and go inward for a few moments. Mountain Pose is simple and you can use this posture as your opportunity to set an intention for the rest of your working day.
What is your priority? What would you like to accomplish and HOW do you want to accomplish it (that is… how do you want to feel?). Use this pose as a final moment of stillness and “me” time to simply be and welcome an inner calm so you are ready to take on the rest of your day feeling rejuvenated and grounded.
Stand tall, toes together and heels slightly apart. Feel your feet press into the Earth but try not to lock out the knees, keep them soft. Feel your spine, it’s long and neutral. Shoulders are down away from the ears, the crown lifts toward the sky and there’s a slight tuck of your chin, so the back of the neck lengthens. Gaze toward the horizon, your arms are by your side and your palms face in toward the thighs. Now close your eyes and breathe in and out through the nose for 10 deep breaths.
Now that you’ve taken five minutes to move, it’s time to jump back into your workday feeling empowered and energised!