Technically, work from home yoga can be performed anywhere. Before 2020, work from home yoga would have just been doing yoga at home, no working-from-home required. Now it’s got more meaning since we’re seeing more and more people switch from an office setting to a cozy sitting-on-the-couch situation. With the cozy, come some definite downsides. I’m not sure if you’ve experienced them, so let me tell you how my body has been dealing with it.
This is the glamorous life of working from home! But, you can change that! If you want to experience less pain and more mobility while working from home for the foreseeable future, follow this routine for just 7 days and see how your body transforms from feeling like mush to toned! I’m not saying you’ll start gaining back a bunch of muscle, but you’ll certainly notice that your body isn’t nagging at you anymore.
Because many of us sit all day, strengthening the entire posterior chain is a great place to start. While sitting, the muscles in the backside of our body are lengthening, but not doing anything. By strengthening the posterior chain muscles, you even out the strain in your body so that it isn’t only in the anterior muscles on the front. Your whole body will be working to support you!
I understand that not everyone wants to get up and spend 30 minutes stretching, so I’ve made sure that some of these can be done from your desk. That means that excuse is eliminated! There is no right order to do these in, but this is technically the order I would teach it in if we were in a class together. Feel free to mix them up or make them easier or harder depending on the day. Regardless, it’s a good way to stretch and move frequently throughout work if you’re sitting at a desk all day. Find reasons to get up from your desk, such as keeping your water or tea away from your work station, making sure you’re hitting your step-count every day, or setting a timer on your phone that reminds you to get up and move!
Now it’s time to start…
1. Cat/Cow: Get the spine moving. Seated or on a mat. If in your seat, place your hands on your knees and curve your spine so that it arches forward and then arches backward. Let your eyes and head follow: in Cat, staring at your bellybutton, in Cow, looking up at the ceiling. You can also move your spine from side to side. If you are on your mat, try this from a tabletop position.
2. Plank to Chaturanga: Planks are great for core strength, stability, and overall help strengthen your whole body. Depending on your skill level, scale this movement by either starting at a wall (beginner) or doing it on the ground (intermediate). For an added challenge, place your feet on blocks or books to elevate your lower body (advanced). Bending into the elbows, perform chaturanga or a push-up. I like to go all the way down to the ground so I can reset my back and triceps and make sure the effort isn’t coming from the front of my shoulders. This provides a great stretch for the pecs, as well!
3. Warrior 2: I love Warrior 2 because your legs are both doing something different. So much is happening here! The front leg: knee bends in direction of the front of the mat, the ankle is dorsiflexed (great to maintain since we lose this when we wear shoes with an elevated heel). The back leg: Back leg is extended and straight. The hip is in external rotation. Reach the arms toward the front and back of the mat as if someone is pulling you either way.
4. Warrior 3: Great for balance, and for working on single-leg strength – your glutes and hamstrings will feel this one (gluteus medius and minimus on your standing leg and gluteus maximus and your hamstrings on your lifted leg)!
5. Salabhasana: Also known in the fitness community as Superman, Salabhasana is a great way to strengthen your lower back and tone your glutes! It also helps improve flexibility in your erector spinae, the muscles that surround your spine from your head to your hips.
6. Hamstring curls in Bridge: Yeah, this one is kind of evil! I know… But, so so important for strengthening the hamstrings. If you do not want to do the curl, feel free to just step your feet out about a foot and then step them back, as if you are marching forward and back. Ensure that your pelvic bones stay neutral. Otherwise, you can place a blanket or towel under your feet and push the feet out and pull them in, making sure to use the hamstrings to do so. This is NOT easy. It will take practice to make sure your hips aren’t sinking.
7. Grab your ball (lacrosse or stress ball), and place it on a flat surface. Place your forearm on top and roll along the bottom of your forearms to release any knots you may have picked up while using your keyboard, mouse, or writing. This is so amazing for loosening up the fascia in your forearms, and it doesn’t stop there. You can roll this ball over most of your muscles and it would likely feel much tighter. Start with your forearms since you can control how much pressure you place on the ball.
There are so many other ways to stretch and strengthen throughout your workday. These are just a few yoga poses to get you going. These are not easy or hard, necessarily. The first step is to remember to get up from your desk and MOVE! Start with just one of these exercises or try them all. I’ll leave that up to you! Make sure to comment with your favorite yoga poses. Add your own if you think I’ve missed out on anything. Is there anything you would have wanted to see more of? I’d love to hear about it!
Chelsea has been active most of her life, which led her to become a Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor for the past 7 years. Health and Fitness are not solely dependent on movement, though, and with that understanding, she addresses her client’s other needs, such as diet, mindfulness, and stress management.
When she is not training clients or teaching Yoga, she is finding new activities that keep her mind and body active, such as rock climbing, hiking, listening to podcasts, or playing Board Games with friends. She is constantly working towards: Finding natural solutions to live as long as possible, inclusive Yoga for all body types, and aiming to find mindfulness is everything she does.