Cultivating strength and mobility are key to combating poor posture caused by our sedentary lifestyle, says yoga teacher Amy Landry.
Warrior I pose lengthens the hip flexor muscles – a very common tight spot if you sit all day at a desk. Keep your back leg strong and look for length in the lower back for the most benefit.
Begin by stepping your right foot forward, creating distance between each foot. Keeping the back foot turned out, yet as minimally as possible, ground your back heel downward. Bend the right knee to a right angle, and extend arms upwards. Draw your tailbone down, while encouraging the left hip to turn forward and pressing the left inner thigh backward. Hold for 5 breaths, release, and change sides.
Warrior III is a great all-rounder, strengthening the upper back and shoulders, lengthening the hip flexors and hamstrings, and challenging balance.
Step your right foot forward and slowly fold forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. Raise your left leg behind you, keeping the foot flexed. Keeping your eyes focused downward to ensure your neck stays lengthened, extend arms forward, in line with your ears. Use visual focus and strong engagement of your thighs to sustain balance. To modify, place your hands on a wall or bench in front of you. Hold for 5 breaths, release, and repeat on the other side.
Often referred to as Cat/Cow pose, this mobilises the spine, shoulders, and hips.
Begin on hands and knees, shoulders aligned over wrists and hips over knees. Spread fingers wide, inhale and gaze forward, spreading the collarbones and retracting the shoulderblades. Exhale and draw chin to chest and contract your navel towards your spine. Repeat the combined movement 8 times.
Boat pose is a useful, yet challenging pose for creating abdominal strength, which results in support for the back and a safer spine.
Start seated, with legs bent in front of you and feet flat on the ground. Slowly begin to lean your torso backwards while extending your arms forward and parallel to the ground. Keeping your chest lifted and shoulders relaxed, gently lift your feet off the ground until they are in line with your knees. Maintain visual focus and consistent breath. If you have the strength and hamstring flexibility, straighten both legs for added intensity! Hold for 5 breaths, release, and repeat.
More commonly known as the Camel pose, this energising back bend mobilises the spine and assists in releasing tension across the chest and front of the shoulders.
Begin kneeling – if you have any knee discomfort or injury, use a folded blanket for support. Place your hands behind you on your upper pelvis. Lengthen through your tailbone, lifting the pubic bone up toward the navel. Maintaining this foundation, begin to lift the chest, drawing the elbows back and opening the collarbones. From here, slowly move into the back bend, keeping hips aligned over knees. To protect your neck, keep looking forward; if you are comfortable, you can lift the chin slightly, but there is no need to drop the head all the way back. Remain in the pose for 5 breaths, then release forward, rest, and repeat.
Visit Amy at www.amyelandry.com