(Edited by Body and Soul magazine)
We all know the feeling, you get in from a long day at work and all you want to do is eat, shower, sleep… sometimes not in that order. The trouble is that it only makes you feel worse. You end up in this wake up, work, sleep, repeat cycle.
Most adults now sit an average of seven and a half hours a day, and that’s if you do a normal day at work and TV watching. If you work long hours, you are just adding to that number. All the research tells us that sitting is no good for us. Your digestion drops off, you feel sluggish and you become less productive at everything you do.
So, instead of sitting when you get home, do this short yoga sequence instead. It will make you feel so much better. Aim to put down your bags, have a glass of water (slowly) and then wash your face to get yourself set up.
1. Legs up the wall
Lie with your legs up the wall and focus on slowing down your breathing, with deep slow inhales and exhales through your nose. Any thoughts that rise up, acknowledge them and then let them go, until your mind feels calmer. Take a couple minutes.
2. Reclining wide leg pose
While still lying down with your legs against the wall, let your legs go as wide as possible to release your spine and soften your hips. When we are at a desk our hips are held together which can lead to aches and pains in your lower back.
3. Knee twist
Bring your legs back together, then bend your knees and come into a little twist to the left so your legs go towards the floor (push away a little from the wall to create some space). Hold for 20 breaths, then swap to the other side, same 20 breaths. Keep your stomach soft so your back can release.
4. Hip lift
Come back to the middle. Place your feet onto the floor hip-width apart and slowly lift your hips off the floor. Interlock your hands underneath you and lift your hips up higher until you feel your shoulders release. Concentrate on breathing into your ribs and feeling them spread wide and high. Take a couple minutes to breathe as slowly as you can here.
5. Resting butterfly
Drop your hips down to the mat and bring your feet together and your knees wide into resting butterfly. You can rock a little side to side here as the body comes to rest. Your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly. Take a deep breath in and feel the inhale come in. Feel your stomach lift and then your heart. Then exhale gently and feel your heart descend and then your stomach. This is full diaphragmic breathing and will help you let go of the day you have had.
6. Corpse pose
Release and come into savasana for the reminder of the ten minutes. Work your way through your body, clenching and releasing until every part of you has let go. Allow your body to become softer as you let the legs and arms roll out. Start to listen to your breath and let the sound of it take you into a complete surrender.
Ideally do this 10-minute sequence when you come home each day from work as a clear definition between your day and your rest.
If you want to find out more about yoga and its benefits, try one of Martine's yoga classes here.
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