Servers, massage therapists, hairstylists, medical professionals, parents, and so many others spend the vast majority of their time on their feet. Whatever it is that keeps you on your toes (literally!) all day is likely wreaking havoc on the rest of your body.
Sore muscles, achy joints, stiff back, and tired feet are just a few things that come along with being on your feet all day. Luckily, yoga can help combat each one of those issues! Proper stretching of overused muscles and decompressing of the spine can help to alleviate this tension, so that you have more energy to take on the day.
Unwind and shed a full day’s worth of work with this simple 30-minute yoga sequence.
Start by kneeling on your knees with your toes tucked. You may wish to place a blanket underneath your knees for extra comfort and support.
Reach your hands back to make sure that all of your toes are tucked under.
Elongate your spine, activate your core, and slowly begin to release your seat onto your heels adding pressure into the stretch through your feet.
Slow your breath as you hold for a full minute.
Inhale to lift your seat up off of your heels, returning back to kneeling.
Untuck your toes and point them straight back behind you. Again, release your seat onto your heels and take your fingertips back behind your hips.
Start to lean your weight into your fingertips as you draw your shoulder blades toward each other, gently opening your heart and rolling toward the top of your feet. Your knees will most likely lift off of the floor and that’s fine.
Breathe into this stretch for one minute.
Sanskrit: Uttanasana Variation
Slowly walk your hands back then forward in front of your knees and lift your seat, returning to kneeling.
Press the sole of one foot into the floor, followed by the other, and hinge forward over your legs.
Walk your feet to be about hip-distance apart and take a hold of opposite elbows.
Bend your knees as little or as much as you would like as you surrender the weight of your torso toward the floor.
Gently shake your head “yes” and “no,” releasing any tension that you may be holding in your neck, and then surrender into stillness within your fold.
From Ragdoll pose, release your hands to the floor and bend your knees as much as you need to. Plant your palms flat about shoulder-distance apart.
Spread your fingers wide and grip the mat with your fingertips. Walk your feet toward the back of your mat and lift your hips upward to create the shape of an upside down “V”.
Bend deeply into your right knee and stretch your left leg as straight as you can. Hold for five deep breaths and then switch sides. Continue to “pedal” your feet in this position for two full minutes.
Unwind your figure-four shape and release both feet back down to the floor hip-distance apart.
Lift your right leg off the mat and extend it as much as you can, reaching your heel toward the sky. Use a strap or towel to loop around the ball of your right foot and very gently draw the leg toward your chest.
Just as before, maintain an elongated spine as you do this. Relax your grip on your strap or towel and soften your shoulders down toward the floor.
Allow the weight of your right leg to draw your thighbone back toward the hip socket. You can keep your left knee bent or straighten the leg forward.
From Legs Up The Wall pose, simply bend into your knees and press your feet into the wall. Gently press the wall away from you to slide your torso away from it. Keep pressing the wall away until you can lay your whole body down—flat against the floor.
Relax your arms by your sides with your palms facing up toward the sky. Soften your shoulders away from your ears.
Walk your feet out as wide as your mat and allow your heels to turn in and your toes to turn out. Surrender the full weight of your body into the floor.
Close your eyes and relax your mind. Soften and surrender into this final resting pose for at least five minutes.
Working on your feet all day can create numerous issues in your feet, calves, hamstrings, hips, lower and upper back, and neck. However, those issues can easily be relieved by having a consistent yoga practice.
Practicing simple sequences such as the one above can help to ease the tension and tightness within your weary body and make you feel as if you walked out of a spa.
Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer and passionate world traveler. From Leah’s very first encounter with yoga, she was hooked. She fell in love with the pure dichotomy of the practice: the stark contrast between the strength and power compared to the grace and surrender. She enjoys the beautiful dance between the two extremes that happens on (and off!) her mat every day. Leah has been a passionate, dedicated student since her very first class. When not teaching, Leah can be found practicing handstands in the sand, finding magic and eloquence playing with words or traveling to far ends of the globe with her mat in hand.