5 Yoga Poses for Long Hours Spent on Your Feet
It can be taxing on your body to be on your feet most of the day as a nurse. You might start to notice tightness in your lower back, pressure on your feet, legs, hips or overall fatigue and discomfort throughout the body. How do we use yoga as a tool to decompress and find relief from a long day of standing?
There are a few different poses that specifically stretch the legs, open the hips, increase circulation and that relieve pain in your back, neck and shoulders. The best part of these postures is that they can be done anywhere. It’s important to treat yourself to this kind of self care and to relax and renew, even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes.
Watch the video:
5 Yoga Poses for Long Hours Spent on Your Feet
1. Legs up the wall
With this pose, you’ll do the exact opposite of what you do all day. It relieves pressure off your feet and increases circulation. It stretches the hamstrings and has a calming affect on the mind.
Find a comfortable space between yourself and a wall. You don’t have to be flush against the wall, instead allow a few inches between your tailbone and the wall. For extra comfort, find a blanket, bolster or towel to prop underneath your pelvis. This raises the heart above the head, which gives your body a cooling and calming effect.
Lay in a comfortable resting position on your back, as you ease in closer to the wall. Start with bent knees as you raise your legs up the wall. Eventually straighten them. Allow your arms to rest open, palms up by your sides. Relax your head, neck and shoulders. Rest here for 5-10 minutes. Focus on your breath and allow your body to relax into the posture.
These two poses stretch and elongate the spine to reverse the effects of standing, which over time compress your spine. These postures massage the spine and internal organs.
Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Stack your knees directly below your hips and wrists below your shoulders. Elbows and shoulders are in one line. Center your head in a neutral position. Gaze at the floor. Inhale, lift your sit bones and chest toward the ceiling and allow your belly to sink toward the floor. Exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling, hollow your belly and tuck your chin toward your chest. This stretches the front and back torso, as well as the neck.
3. Child’s Pose
This pose takes off the extra weight that you carry on your feet all day. Child’s pose loosens your muscles and allows them to finally relax. Child’s pose calms the nervous system while it also releases tension in the back, shoulders and neck. It lengthens and stretches the spine, increases circulation throughout the body and stretches the hips, legs and ankles.
Guide your knees apart while you keep your big toes together. Sit back on your heels and rest your belly in between your thighs. Allow your forehead to meet the floor. Keep your arms long and extended, palms face down. Those with very tight hips can keep their knees and thighs together, while you rest your torso on the thighs. For deeper relaxation, bring your arms to rest alongside your thighs with the palms face up. Completely relax your elbows. Stay here for as long as you need!
4. Half Pigeon Pose
Half pigeon pose is the epitome of hip opening and relaxation. If you practice consistently, you’ll notice more ease in your lower body as you sit, walk or stand. Open hips improve your posture, alignment and overall flexibility. This posture stimulates the internal organs and stretches the glutes, groins, and the psoas and piriformis (two muscles that connect the legs to the spine). It is also known to help alleviate sciatic pain. Open hips release the negative feelings and energy from your system since stress, tension and anxiety are often stored in our hips.
Start from all fours on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. The more parallel your lower leg is with the front of the mat, the more intense the hip opener. Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Stack your left leg directly behind your hip so it does not draw outwards. Square the hips and gently lower your upper body toward the floor. Rest your forehead on the mat. Stay here for several breaths to relieve tension in the hip area. Push back through the hands and lift the hips to get out of the pose and return to a table top position. Repeat on the other side.
5. Supine Twist
Supine twists lengthen and encourage mobility along the spine, massage the internal organs and stretch the hips, chest, shoulders and upper back. Therapeutically, this pose both relaxes and re-energizes, while helping relieve stress and anxiety. Twists massage the organs and encourage the fresh flow of blood throughout the body, which stimulates the body’s natural detoxification process.
Lay on your back. Bend your knees into the chest and extend your arms out alongside the body in a “T” formation. The palms face up. Drop both knees over to the left and begin to enjoy the spinal twist. Root the shoulder blades down toward the mat and breathe for 5-10 breaths. Bring the knees back up to neutral and repeat on the other side.
This tip is brought to you by Kathryn McCann of Hang Zen Yogis.