Nine-to-fivers know the downsides that come with an office job — tight hips, numb buns and physical restlessness paired with mental fatigue — a combination that’s hardly motivating. But not all hope is lost: A 2016 study showed that an hour of movement each day (if you sit for eight hours daily) can counteract the harm of sitting all day. So, apart from an hour of movement, whether you walk home, go for a run or a bike ride, the following moves will keep your hips loose, get your blood flowing, and also calm and focus your mind.
Upward dog to open your hips and chest
Photo credit: yogasynergy.com
Lie face-down on the floor, with tops of your feet face down. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, hugging your elbows into your body. Inhale and lift your chest up, being mindful of the connection through your pelvis to your legs. Lift through the top of the sternum and chest but don’t push your ribs forward. Distribute the bend evenly through your whole spine.
If you want, turn your upper body from side to side slowly to deepen the stretch in each hip. Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.
Glute bridges to revitalize your glutes
Photo credit: plankpose.com
Lay on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Place them close enough that you can graze your heels with your fingertips when you stretch your arms down by your side. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so your hands are in the air.
Drive up through your heels and upper back to lift your glutes up off the ground. Drive your hips up as high as possible, squeezing your glutes at the top. Make sure you’re pressing straight upward, and that your knees aren’t caving in. Squeeze your glutes for a second or two at the top a few times and lower all the way back down to the ground before repeating. Aim for three sets of 10.
Pigeon pose, to lengthen hips and release emotions
Photo credit: Yogaclass.ie
Starting on all fours, bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Place your ankle anywhere in front of your left hip (the more parallel your leg is to the wall in front of you, the deeper the stretch.) Slide your left leg out behind you and straighten your knee.
Come on to your fingertips, hands shoulder-width apart, draw your belly button in and open your chest. Exhale and walk your hands forward to lower your upper body onto the floor. Rest your forearms and forehead on the floor. Hold for 5 breaths or longer. To come out of the pose, walk your hands back and lift the hips, moving back onto all fours.
Want more yoga? There are plenty of free online yoga classes on Youtube; we love Fightmaster Yoga with Lesley Fightmaster and Yoga With Tim hosted by Tim Senesi. Both offer a range of online classes at all levels, from energizing full body workouts, to quieter, more relaxing yoga flows.