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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.
- Hold for two minutes.
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
- 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.
- When you’ve evened out your body from side-to-side with your calf stretches, release your knees to the floor—either choose to have them drawing toward each other or out as wide as your mat.
- Release your seat to your heels and stretch your arms forward in front of you. Soften your forehead to the yoga mat.
- Allow the weight of your body to surrender into the floor.
- Deepen your breath and hold for three minutes.
Reclining Figure-Four pose
- After you’ve softened into Child’s pose, slowly roll up to sit on your heels and release your hips over to one side so that you can swing your legs forward in front of you.
- From here, slowly roll down onto your back. Bend into both of your knees and place your feet flat against the floor about hip-distance apart.
- Lift your right leg and flex into your ankle. Cross your ankle over your left knee to create the shape of a figure four.
- Lift your left leg off the floor, interlace your fingers behind your left thigh, and gently draw both legs toward your chest.
- Maintain length into your spine as you do so by reaching your tailbone toward the floor.
- Hold for one minute, maintaining long, deep breaths before switching legs.
Sanskrit: Supta Padangusthasana
- 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.
- Hold for one minute before switching sides.
Sanskrit: Ananda Balasana
- Release the previous pose and hug both knees into your chest.
- Draw your legs in tightly and wrap your arms around your shins, giving yourself a big hug. From here, flex into your ankles and draw your knees out wide toward the sides of your mat.
- Keeping your knees bent deeply, reach the soles of your feet toward the sky and either hold onto the back of your thighs or onto the pinky side of your feet.
- Draw your knees down toward the floor and out wide toward your armpits. Lengthen your spine, elongating your tailbone and your whole lower back toward the floor.
- Breathe into this hip opener and spinal release for two full minutes.
Sanskrit: Viparita Karani
- Once you’ve release Happy Baby pose, find some clear, open space at a wall. Squat down next to the wall with your right hip touching it.
- Place your fingertips behind your hips and lean your weight into your arms.
- Release your seat to the floor and stretch your legs forward.
- Swing your legs toward the right and up the wall as you simultaneously walk your torso toward the left so that it becomes perpendicular with the wall.
- Lie down onto your back and scoot your sit-bones as close toward the wall as possible (ideally letting them touch the wall). Your knees can be bent or straight.
- Soften the weight of your back into the mat and allow the weight of your legs to draw down toward the floor as well.
- Literally—and figuratively—allow the tension to roll off and out of your feet that you’ve pounded down into so much. Soften into this pose for five full minutes.
- 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.