The Work-From-Home Reset
A five minute yoga sequence, by Eloise Skinner
Working from home can leave your body feeling achey, tired, and in need of a good stretch. And in-between meetings, calls and appointments, it can feel difficult to find the time for a consistent yoga practice. But even if you have just five minutes, jumping on your yoga mat is a great idea. Here are eight gentle poses you can try in order to reset your back, shoulders and hips before getting back to your desk!
Start by stretching out on your mat in a Child's Pose: bring your hips back towards your heels, and stretch your arms out in front. If you prefer, you can take your hands back by your sides - see what feels best in your shoulders. While you're there, take a few deep breaths into the back of your body.
Cat & Cow Stretch
Bring yourself into a tabletop position, and begin to move your spine through Cat Pose (flexion of your spine, making a domed shape and tucking your chin to your chest) and Cow Pose (extension of your spine, allowing your heart to come forwards and your chin to life). Try to create a gentle, rhythmic flow between these two positions, moving with your breath.
Thread the Needle
Reach one hand to the ceiling, opening one shoulder and lifting your gaze to your fingertips. Then, thread your arm underneath your body, bringing your shoulder down to the mat and reaching for the opposite side of the room. If it feels comfortable to do so, you can relax your shoulder into the mat. When you've had a few breaths in this position, unravel your arm and repeat on the other side.
Crouching Downward Dog
This variation of Downward Dog is a great option for a deep hip stretch. Find a regular Downward Dog, and then take a generous bend to your knees, pressing your hips back towards your heels and pushing the mat away with your palms. You can take a gentle sway from side to side, if that feels supportive.
Straighten your legs to find a regular Downward Dog position – remember that you can keep a soft bend to your knees if you prefer. Imagine your tailbone reaching up towards the ceiling, and take a few deep breaths into your hips.
From Downward Dog, lower your knees down towards the ground until they hover just an inch above the mat. Press down firmly through your palms, and use your core to stabilise your body. Take a few breaths in this position, feeling the muscles of your core, legs and back support you. After you take a few breaths, push back to Downward Dog (you can repeat this sequence a few times, if you like).
To continue with the core theme, you can bring yourself back into your floating tabletop - but this time, see if you can tap your knees down to the mat, alternating each knee, one after another. Try to keep your upper body stable and supportive, and continue to take deep breaths down the back of your spine.
Child's Pose with Side Stretch
To complete your practice, bring your hips back into Child's Pose, and stretch your hands forwards. If you'd like to take a small side-stretch, walk both of your hands around to one side of the mat (you can stack one palm on top of another for stability). Hold for a few breaths, and then swap sides. When you've completed both sides, finish your practice with a few breaths in Child's Pose.