No matter the profession, stress levels and workplaces are often closely intertwined. Deadlines, extra workload, coworker quarrels – stress comes at us from all different angles, affecting our minds (and bodies!) in more ways than one. Unchecked, it can contribute to health problems like high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and immune system deficiencies. After a busy day, an easy and convenient option is to de-stress with post-work yoga poses that target common problem areas and help reduce overall stress.
We all carry stress differently. Some hold it in our shoulders, leading to neck pain. For others, it centers around the lower back, affecting our cores and ruining our posture. Practicing these specific yoga moves and targeting them appropriately to our individual needs can greatly reduce our overall stress, even rendering it altogether obsolete.
Neck Stretches: Whether you are on your feet all day, or sitting at a computer desk, your neck can undergo an immense amount of strain. Taking a few minutes out of your day to focus on this area is essential and can be done from anywhere! Synchronize with deep breathes, and simply roll your neck from side to side. Stretch deeply and slowly until you feel tension beginning to lessen. Continue to do forward and backward as well.
Cat Pose/Cow Pose:: This is an alternating stretch, as it combines two poses. This can help improve flexibility while strengthening and stretching the spine, neck and chest. Position your body on your hands and knees with your shoulders and hips directly above each, respectively, and begin in cow pose by dropping your abdominals toward the mat, arching your back inward. Inhaling, you then move into cat pose by raising your back, arching it upwards, and bringing your abs in. Alternating between the two poses while synchronized with your breathing can help alleviate stress and calm the mind.
Bound Angle Pose: This move is known to greatly lessen the symptoms of sciatica, which are commonly caused by sitting for long periods of time. Sitting in an upright position, bring the soles of your feet together bending at the knee, and hold in place. As you deepen your breaths, settle into the stretch by folding forward if your flexibility allows. Otherwise, hold the position, and incorporate deep breathing.
Child’s Pose: This pose is one for you to practice when you are ready to relax and let go. As it greatly stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, it can also bring a fantastic stretch to the torso. Starting on your knees, come into a sitting position, folding down so that your knees remain slightly apart, and resting your forehead on the mat. This move can be modified in two ways, either with your hands extended straight out over your head, or with your arms resting at your sides.
Author Credit: Rachel Hartman
Photo Credit: Wanderlust