I know how it is: you wake up, make yourself presentable, commute to the office and then you sit at your desk staring at a screen or run from one meeting to the next. Some days it is so busy that you even forget to get lunch and run out at 3 pm to get a boring sandwich or salad. And then you sit again. After work is not that much better: you drive home, make or order dinner, and watch your favorite TV show.
You may have already guessed what point I want to make: we SIT just about all day. Some magazines claim sitting is the new smoking. I am not so sure about that but I think it demonstrates how dangerous it can be.
Luckily yoga is here to help. And you only need 10 minutes to relieve tight shoulders, stretch out those muscles, and feel balanced after a busy day at work.
Without further ado…. Here is my quick 8-pose after-work yoga flow to try after you leave the office for the day. This flow is a great for getting your circulation going and clearing your mind after a stressful day in the office.
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is good for improving your posture, it strengthens the ankles, knees and thighs and firms the core and buttocks.
Stand with your feet a little less than hip-width apart. Your knees should be directly over your ankles, and the hips over the knees. Lift the top of your sternum towards the ceiling and widen your collarbones. Your arms relax beside your torso, palms facing forward. Draw your shoulders down and back. Balance your head directly over the center of your pelvis with your chin parallel to the floor.
Vrikshasana – Tree Pose
Tree poses strengthen the ankles and knees. They help you to find your center and increase balance, focus, memory, and concentration.
From Mountain Pose, bring your weight into your left leg, bend your right knee, and place your right foot to the inside of your right thigh. You can also place the foot on the calf or ankle depending on where you practice is, just not on the knee. Make sure that your hips are level and face forward. Bring your hands to your heart or reach them up into the air. Stay here for 5 breaths and come back to Mountain Pose.
Uttanasana – Forward Fold
Forward Fold stretches the hamstrings and lengthens the spinal column and back muscles. It can stimulate the digestive, nervous and endocrine systems.
From Mountain Pose, with an exhale, bend the knees slightly and hinge forward from the hips with a flat back. Bend the knees enough to bring your palms on the floor (or use blocks). Relax the head and neck down and feel the stretch in your spine. Your pelvis should be stacked above your ankles.
Salamba Bhujangasana – Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose opens the heart and chest and strengthens the core. It can stimulate the kidneys and the nervous system.
From Forward Fold, step back to plank pose an come down to your forearms. If you want to challenge yourself take 5 to 10 breaths in forearm plank. Make sure your forearms are flat on the floor and your elbows are in line with your shoulders. With your next exhale untuck your toes and lower your belly and legs down. Press into the forearms, inhale and lift your chest forward and up- your head should be in line with the spine. Squeeze your thighs and buttocks and press the pubic bone into your mat. Keep your elbows close to your body and drop your shoulders down and back. To release, exhale and lower your chest and head back to the mat.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana – Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog deeply stretches the shoulders, opens the chest, and builds strength in the upper body. It also stretches the legs and hamstrings. It can rejuvenate the body and stimulate the nervous system.
Tuck your toes under, bring your hands next to your shoulders, and lift the hips towards the ceiling. Your fingers should be spread out wide and all four corners of your hands should root down. Keep a slight bend in your knees and lift your sitting bones high. Stretch your heels towards the floor while straightening your knees without locking them. Your heels don’t have to touch the floor – this will come with time! Firmly press into your hands and reach your chest towards the mat (think Upward dog in the chest).
Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I
Warrior I strengthens the legs, opens the chest, and improves the circulation in the entire body. It can strengthen your concentration and provide balance and groundedness.
From Downward Facing Dog, step your right leg to the inside of your right hand and ground your left foot down. Your left toes should point to the left corner of your mat. Bring the hands to your hips and square the hips and shoulders to the front wall. You might have to step your back leg up a few inches. Your front leg is bent with your right knee over the right ankle. Inhale and reach your arms above your head, palms facing each other. Relax your shoulders.
Parsvottanasana – Pyramid Pose
Pyramid Pose improves balance and deeply stretches the backs of the legs. The shown hand variations stretch the shoulders and hands.
From Warrior I, step the back leg up a few inches that you are able to straighten both legs. This can mean stepping the back leg up 4-6 inches and that is totally ok and correct! Your back foot should be flat on the floor, slightly facing to the front of the mat. Make sure that both hips are level (you should be able to balance a block on your lower back). Reach your chest forward and down. Keep your legs active during this pose. You can bring your hands on blocks on either side of the front leg, interlace your hands behind your back and stretch your shoulders or bring your hands to a prayer behind the back – yogis choice.
Come back to Mountain Pose and repeat flow on the other side.
Balasana – Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose gently stretches the lower back and massages the abdominal organs. It calms the mind, body and soul, and stimulates intuition through the third eye point.
Come to all fours. Bring the knees together or if more comfortable spread them slightly apart. Your big toes should touch. Exhale, slowly reach your hips towards your heels and ankles. Your arms can be next to your body, palms facing up or extend them on the mat in front of your, palms down. Breathe slowly and deeply. With every inhale allow your rib cage and belly to expand. With every exhale soften through the chest and ground your hips down. Child’s pose is a great resting pose, come here whenever you need a break during your practice.
Sign up for our FREE Blissful@Work 7 Day Challenge for more yoga and meditation inspiration!