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Desk sitters, listen up! Here are 4 yoga poses to improve your mobility

Flexibility is one of the key ingredients to healthy living. But in a time such as now, movement is a rare commodity. For those of you who work from home, you’ll know exactly what we mean. Your daily commute is now between your bed and your kitchen table, and your walk to your after-work yoga studio is now a walk to the living room floor. 

Needless to say, movement is limited. In this article, we’ll walk you through four of the best yoga poses to improve your mobility while working from home.

But first: Why is movement so important?

Flexibility lies at the centre of healthy joints, healthy muscles, and a healthy mindset. In fact, there are many health benefits that come with high mobility, including: 

  1. Greater range of motion: Good flexibility makes it easier to move your joints left and right, and you do so without exerting as much energy.
  2. Better posture: Sitting at a desk isn’t a healthy (or natural) thing to do. Flexibility reduces muscle strain and tension.
  3. Less pain: Quite simply, flexible muscles work with your body, not against it. That means less resistance and ultimately, less pain.
  4. Reduce your risk of injury: Because your muscles are more mobile, you reduce your risk of injuries such as muscle strains and sprains.
  5. Reduced stress: Tension held in muscles reduces your flexibility, and it exacerbates stress. Reduced muscle tension, then, means fewer stress responses. 
  6. Improved circulation: Flexible muscles allow for greater blood flow across the body. This means your muscles recover quicker from a workout, and your body can regulate itself easier. 

Okay, now that you understand the benefits that come with greater flexibility, it’s time to actually perform the work that’ll get you there. Here are our top four yoga poses for improved mobility.

1. Head to knee

This is an easy pose suitable for all levels of yoga, and it helps improve mobility through your lower back, hips and thigh muscles. This pose also helps improve your core strength and works your oblique muscles. 

Perform the pose

  1. Sit on the ground or on a yoga mat.
  2. Extend your right leg. At the same time, press your left foot into the inside of your thigh.
  3. Inhale and raise your arms overhead.
  4. Exhale and bend at your hips to fold forward toward your outstretched leg.
  5. Place your hands on the floor or hold on to your outstretched leg or foot.
  6. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Switch legs and do the opposite side.

2. Low lunge

Again, this is another pose that is perfect for all yoga abilities, and it helps open up your hips, stretch out your core, and focus on your balance.

Perform this pose

  1. Kneel on the floor on your left knee. Bend your right knee and place your right foot flat on the ground in front of you.
  2. Lengthen through your spine and out the crown of your head.
  3. Lift up your torso and arms. Or, you can extend your arms to the side, perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Gently push into your right hip.
  5. Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds.
  6. Switch legs and repeat on the opposite side.

3. Wide-angle seated forward bend

For those with reduced mobility, this pose is tricky. But through regular practice this hip opener helps alleviate mobility problems in the lower back, as well as in your hamstrings and calves. 

Perform this pose

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs open as far wide as they’ll go.
  2. Extend your arms overhead.
  3. Hinge at your hips to fold forward, walking your hands forward toward your feet.
  4. Hold this position for up to 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Plow Pose

For those of you who are intermediate yogis, give plow pose a try. This pose helps roll out your spine and reduces tension pain between your neck and shoulders.

If you don’t have the mobility to rest your feet safely on the floor (by safely, we mean without causing pain across your body), rest them on a chair.

If you suffer from neck issues, consider swapping this out for a simple cow face pose instead.

Perform this pose

  1. Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and press your hands (face down) into the floor.
  2. Raise your legs straight up to 90 degrees and find waterfall pose.
  3. Slowly start to bring your legs over your head.
  4. Place your hands on your lower back, aligning your pinky fingers on either side of your spine with your fingers facing upward.
  5. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Release by rolling your spine back down to the floor.
  7. Repeat 1 to 2 times.

Remember: if you’re in pain, ease up

None of the poses above should cause you pain. In fact, they should do much the opposite – they should aim to reduce feelings of tension and tightness and help alleviate pain across your body. 

If you find yourself holding your breath and exerting too much energy in a pose, it’s time to ease up and find a comfortable and safe alternative. Feelings of pain and feelings of a healthy stretch are two different things, be sure to recognize which is which.

To find out more about yoga and improving your mobility, be sure to explore more from our Journal.

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