Taking 30 minutes a day to exercise has countless benefits from reducing stress, boosting mood, improving memory and even tapping into your creativity. Many of us are stagnant while we work at our desk. We sit all day; we don’t take a proper lunch, and eventually, it silently takes a toll on your health.
If you are working from home, try to make the space in your day to concentrate on you. Taking a 30-minute yoga break will bring you back into your body, mind, and breath. This space will allow you to focus and reconnect internally.
My Perspective on Yoga Breaks while Working from Home
I’ve noticed on days where I don’t allow time for myself I feel misguided, uninspired, stressed, and overwhelmed. I enjoy starting the day with 20 mins of yoga and light stretches. I use this time to move freely, breathe deeply, and be one with the morning sun. Toss in a 5-minute meditation, and then I’m off to make a cup of coffee and move into the day. My mind is clear, my thoughts are fluid, and I am focused.
In the afternoon or evening, I like to do a 30-minutes to one hour of yoga in my sanctuary. It helps bring me back to reality – to focus on what is essential, what I get joy from, and where I can create space for what matters.
Self-care working from home isn’t easy, and I understand where you are coming from. It’s easier to get lost in the day, to-do lists, and projects that never seen to end. Getting into a routine that puts your health first, does not happen overnight. However, I know you can do it. I ask you to take a step back from your desk and practice this 30-minute flow that will help you find a little balance in your day.
Getting into your Work from Home Yoga Flow
One of the best ways to get into any type of yoga flow is to warm-up with five to ten rounds of sun salutations. Start slow and make modifications where necessary. I also like to add in some seated shoulder and neck rolls before I begin to loosen up tension.
Cat/Cow Sequence (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)
Warm-up your spine and gently massage your organs with this movement. Start with a straight back on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale, then exhale, as you round your spine towards the sky, keeping your shoulders and knees engaged. Inhale, coming back to tabletop and move into lifting your sitting bones and chest towards the sky, allowing your belly to sink to towards the ground. Repeat ten to 20 times, breathing deeply.
Tabletop Extension (Utthita marjaryasana)
Improve your mental focus and release tension with this pose. It will help strengthen your core and help connect with your balance. Start in tabletop, with shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Keep your neck neutral. Engage your core and begin to extend your right leg behind you, toes facing down, heel engaged. When you feel balanced, begin to lift your left arm straight in front of you. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Stand at the top of your mat with your feet hip-distance apart. Exhale, as you hinge at the hips – think about creating length from your hips to your head. Root toward through your legs and reach toward the ground or on blocks. As you build on flexibility, try doing this pose with your knees bent. This pose is known to reduce fatigue, relieve stress, and combat depression.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana)
This pose is one of my personal favourites to strength my body and mind. I love that this pose improves balance, expands the heart, strengthens thighs and shoulders, but still provides a deep stretch through the legs and ankles. Starting with your right foot pointed straight at the front of your mat, have your back leg parallel to the back of your mat. Bend your front knee, so it is stacking over your front ankle. Begin to raise your arms out wide, relax your shoulders, and keep palms down. Concentrate on your breathing for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Triangle Pose (Utthita trikonasana)
Starting in Warrior II, straighten your front knee but keep a micro bend (you never want to lock out your joints). Exhale and send your left hip toward the back of your mat and begin to hinge forward. Place your hand on a block, your shin, or the ground. Reach your left hand up toward the sky. Concentrate on your breathing for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. This pose is a beautiful chest opener that also stretches your thighs, knees, calves. I find triangle pose to be one of the most invigorating poses; it opens up your energetic channels, calms the mind, and relieves stress.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
As we spend time to get grounded in our day, tree pose is a top choice in poses to get rooted. This pose works with your internal energy to calm your mind and relax your central nervous system. Start in standing mountain and begin to shift your weight into your left foot. Begin to lift your right foot to the inner leg (avoid the knee joint).
As much as I enjoy the challenge of having my leg on my thigh, I prefer this pose with my foot on my calf. Lengthen your tailbone to the ground and keep your hips squared forward. Bring your hands into the heart centre, take a few breaths. Then begin to lift your arms above your head, while relaxing your shoulders. Take ten deep breaths then repeat on the opposite side.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This resting pose relaxes the spine, shoulders and neck. It is also known to increase blood circulation to your head (which can relieve headaches). It has a calming effect on the mind and central nervous system. Starting in tabletop, sit back as you put your big toes together and widen your hips towards the mat edge. Slowly begin to lower your hips towards your heels. Remember: trust your body here. Sometimes you will be able to open more than others. Move your arms forward or by your side.
Seated Side Bend (Parsva sukhasana)
There is nothing like a stretch that targets the side body when sitting all day. Side bends can offer release and bring you space to your side body – an area that is often overlooked. Start in easy seated and place your right arm on the ground. Lift your left arm toward the sky and begin to stretch to the right side. One key point in this pose is to keep your hips grounded – it’s not about how far you go. Repeat on the opposite side.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha matsyendrasana)
Get ready to open your chest, shoulders and increase flexibility in the spine. This powerful pose increases energy in the central channel of the body and ignites your agni (digestive fire in the body). Start with your legs in front of you and bend your right leg toward you. Place your foot over your opposite knee/thigh in the ground. Place your right hand on the ground, and lift half your left arm high. Exhale and twist to the right side as you begin to lower your arm to the outside of your left leg. Take your gaze over your right shoulder – I love adding the gaze because we spend all day looking forward; time to give those eyes a break! Breathe for five to ten breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
Supine Twist (Jathara parivartanasana)
This restorative pose stretches your spine, side body, chest and back. Energetically it helps stimulate your creativity, confidence, and self-esteem. Laying down, bring your knees above your hips and your heels to the front of your mat. As you inhale, keep your knees about the hip level at a 90-degree angle. Begin to lower to the floor. Open your arms out wide, but note you want your shoulders to stay on the ground. As you enjoy this stretch, it will encourage movement and mobility in your spine. It also helps to alleviate tension in your body. Breathe deeply for five to ten breaths and then slowly bring yourself to centre, using your core, and repeat on the opposite side
Lay down on the ground with ease and finish your flow in a savasana. Inhale, exhale. Enjoy these final moments in resting pose and focus on your breath. Notice how your body and mind feel. This relaxing time will also help your body enjoy the space you have created.