Do you spend lots of time on your computer or looking down at your phone? Of course you do! We all do, no judgment here. While there are a bunch of little tweaks and stretches you can sneak in throughout the day, it can be nice to fully stretch out in the comfort of your own home after a long day at the office. Because we spend most of our day tensing our shoulders and putting our neck in an unnatural positions, it’s important to spend some time reversing that to give our body time to find the way back towards proper alignment. Here are a few great poses to try after a long day of work:
Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose or Chair Twist):
Start off in chair pose (Utkatasana) and bring hands to heart center. Keeping your knees in line with one another, twist to the right. You can hook your left elbow over your right knee. Work towards twisting the rib basket up towards the ceiling. Hold for 10 breaths. To come out of the pose, release the arms and upper body down into a standing forward fold. Repeat on the opposite side.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):
Backbends are great for opening the heart and stretching the shoulders. You will want to make sure that you are warmed up before jumping into them, however. Start off lying on your mat, with the soles of your fit hip-width distance. Have your heels close enough to you that you can reach down and touch them with your fingertips. Inhale and stamp your spine, low back, and heels into the mat. On your exhale, raise your hips and send them up as high as you can. Interlace fingertips underneath low back, and work on straightening arms and bringing the interlace down to the mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths and gently lower back down to the mat. Give your spine a moment in neutral before you move on. Repeat 2-3 times.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged forward fold) with arm bind:
Start with your feet about an armspan apart and your toes pigeon-toed in towards you. With a flat back, lower down into the fold. Spend 5 breaths softening into the fold with your hands on the floor under your shoulders, and then for 5 more breaths, interlace your fingertips behind your back and extend the arms overhead. If you have trouble with the interlace, you can always use a strap or hand towel to bridge the gap between your hands.
Supported Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle or Butterfly Pose):
For this you will need two blocks and a bolster. You can also use pillows, blankets, books, or whatever you have to make a sturdy narrow ramp – but you do want it to be narrower than your body so your shoulders can release downward. One block will be on the highest setting and one on the medium setting. The tallest one will be just about under your head and the shorter one will be under your shoulders. Place your bolster or pillow over the two blocks, and lean back. Bring legs into reclined butterfly position with the soles of the feet touching. Let arms hang off of bolster with palms facing up. Relax here for 2-5 minutes, or longer!
Please excuse the weird-o lighting that makes me look deathly pale in some of the pictures. :)