Whether you’re sitting down or on your feet all day for work, yoga is the perfect after work transition into the rest of your evening. Here are 5 of our favourite poses to include in an after work yoga sequence!
Downward Facing Dog
It’s the cliche yoga pose for a reason – it does it all! Downdog stretches the hamstrings calves, shoulders and hands, as it strengthens the arms and legs. It improves circulation, lengthens the spine, energises the body, and calms the mind. All in one little yoga pose! There’s no need to be static here – feel free to find intuitive movement that feels good, maybe pedalling out the legs or moving the hips.
If your job involves a lot of sitting, your back will likely feel a bit stiff at the end of the day. Cat/Cow is a great remedy to that! Move slooowly and with your breath, inhaling to drop the belly as you lift the chest and gaze, exhale to round the spine and let the crown of the head release. This will release tension in the spine and contribute to back flexibility.
Oooh this one is UNCOMFORTABLE. But – it won’t kill you. Curl your toes under and sit on your heels, with your knees and legs together. Not only is this amazing for your feet (especially if you’re cramming them into uncomfortable shoes all day long or are on your feet a lot), it’s also a great mental practice. Sitting in the discomfort and breathing through it is a wonderful skill to learn on your yoga mat and take with you off the mat.
Ahhh, hip openers. Our sitting epidemic keeps our hips from accessing the rotation, flexion, and extension they need to stay limber. And if we deal with a lot of stress in our day to day lives, that actually creates stress and tension in our hips as well. Pigeon is my favourite way to counteract that. If you have hip or knee injuries, avoid pigeon pose. Come on to your back for a reclined version instead 🙂
For Pigeon, from all fours bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. (The more parallel your lower leg is with the front of the mat, the more intense the stretch will be. Start slow.) Slide your left leg back out behind you, straighten the knee and point the toes, all in one straight line. You can always use a block under your right glute for extra support in keeping your hips level. Inhale to lift your upper body, exhale to gently fold forward, resting forearms and maybe forehead to that mat. Don’t force anything here. Come out of the pose by walking hands back, sitting up, pushing back through the hands and lifting the hips, moving the leg back into all fours. Repeat for the same amount of time on the other side.
If you want to do the reclined version, just come to your back, bring your right ankle to left thigh, just under the knee.Lift left foot so your shin is parallel with the mat. Interlace hands behind the thigh and guide it towards you, keeping your feet flexed.
Legs up the wall
This is hands down my favourite thing to do right before bed. Scoot your bum as close to the wall as you can, ideally to touch it, then walk feet up the wall until your body is in an L-shape. Let your arms fall by your side and breathe. Get cosy here – you can even do it in bed, using your headboard as the wall. You can prop your hips up on a pillow, or rest your head on a blanket if you like. Legs up the wall helps to stimulate digestion, relieve headaches, increase circulation, and is amazing for soothing swollen or cramped legs or feet.
Honestly it was super difficult to narrow this down to a top 5 – there are so many yoga poses that are AMAZING to do after work. Play around and find what works for your body 🙂 What are your go-to after work yoga poses?