Working from home has become the new reality after the rise of the novel coronavirus. Kitchen shelf tops and dining room tables have now become workspaces. While for some, WFH triggered a wave of panic, others were happy with their midday trips to the fridge and sweatpants as the new office attire. But, it’s clear that WFH is not for everyone. I, for one, have been feeling a little anxious with all this home time. Working from home can be hard under ordinary circumstances. Add the pandemic anxiety, lockdown restrictions and long hours of sitting at your work desk, and you have a recipe for emotional, physical and mental exhaustion right there.
And you know what happens when you spend long hours sitting in one place, right? The result is tightness in your hips, legs, neck and back. The effects of this prolonged inactivity can get worse in the coming years (unless you’re lucky enough to plan an early retirement). Fortunately, you can loosen up by stretching the right way. That’s where yoga comes in.
Practising a few poses in your break time will help release all that built-up tension. It’s time to show your muscles some TLC.
How to do it: Place your hands and knees on your mat, your shoulders should be over your wrists and hips over knees. When you the exhale, you arch your back and look up toward the ceiling in cow pose. On the inhale, round the spine and curve up into your cat pose. Keep alternating between the two poses and hold each for as long as you can.
How it helps: Opens up your back, stretches your spine, promotes mobility, and relieves tension in your lower back.
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend forward from the hips, lengthening the front of your torso. Now stretch your arms forward and place your hands next to your feet or on the ground in front of you. Bring your weight a little bit forward on your feet so that your hips stay over your ankles. Let your head hang. When you come up, inhale and place your hands on your hips. Press your tailbone down and contract your abdominal muscles as you rise up slowly.
How it helps: Stretches your shoulders, hamstrings and calves. The pose gives you a feeling of release and that’s why it is also known to be a therapeutic asana that relieves stress and anxiety.
How to do it: Extend both your arms straight up and then circle your right elbow under the left elbow and feel free to align your elbow with the shoulders to deepen the shoulder opening. Now do the same with your legs. Swing your right knee over the left knee. If you aren’t able to balance yourself then begin with your right foot’s toes down on the floor.
How it helps: Stretches your back, shoulders, arms and also helps activate your digestive system.
How to do it: While lying on the floor, put your hands on the ground in front of you. Tuck your elbows into the chest. Gently press your palms on the floor while lifting your chest up. Make sure to keep the shoulders soft and start with bent elbows.
How it helps: Stretches your shoulders and spine. This pose is actually great for opening up your body after sitting hunched over all day.
How to do it: Kneel on your mat with your knees hip-width apart and your feet together behind you. Inhale, and as you exhale, move your torso over your thighs. Those with very tight hips can keep their knees and thighs together.
How it helps: Takes the pressure off your lower back, stretches your hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue.
Ready to try these poses? Trust us, you back will thank you.
Featured Image: Pexels