Nurses are no strangers to being on their feet all day. We are constantly checking on patients, grabbing medications, and walking to and from the supplies closet. All that walking and standing can leave your feet, back, and neck aching after a long day on the floor. But sitting on the couch after work won’t necessarily provide the relief you’re looking for. That’s why yoga can be so useful.
These five poses are specifically designed to relieve neck, back and feet pain by increasing circulation and improving posture. Yoga can also improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and help you get a good night’s sleep. The great thing about these poses is that you can do them anywhere. Even a little bit of yoga will help, even if it’s just five or ten minutes a day.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
For this pose, find a flat section of the wall. Lay down on the floor in a comfortable position with your pelvis a few inches from the wall. You may want to place a blanket, towel, or mat underneath your pelvis to make yourself more comfortable.
Start with your knees bent as you slowly raise your legs up the wall until they are perfectly straight. Let your arms rest by your side. Try to relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Focus on your breathing and try to maintain this position for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
This pose is designed to stretch and elongate your spine, which gets compressed when standing for long periods of time. Get in a tabletop position with your hands and legs on the floor. Keep your knees directly below your hips with your wrists below your shoulders. Your elbows and shoulders should be in one line.
Keep your neck straight while looking down at the floor. Breathe in and slowly lift your sit bones and chest toward the ceiling while you allow your belly to sink toward the floor.
Breathe out and round your spine toward the ceiling while tucking your chin toward your chest. Hold this position for 5 to 10 minutes.
Start on your hands and knees on the floor or on a yoga mat. Keep your knees wide apart with both of your big toes touching. Slowly move your pelvis back until your butt is resting on your heels.
Sit up straight and extend your spine up through the crown of your head. Now bow forward as you exhale until your head touches the floor. Your chest should be in between or resting on your knees. Keep your arms extended with your palms facing the floor. Press back slightly as you move your hands forward as far as you can, extending your neck and spine.
Half Pigeon Pose
Get on all fours on your hands and knees. Bring your right knee forward so that it touches the back of your right wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. Try to keep your lower leg parallel with the mat. The more you straighten your leg, the more intense the pose will be.
Slide your left leg back and straighten your knee with your toes pointed. Keep 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 moments until you feel tension relief.
Push back through the hands and lift the hips to get out of the pose and return to the original position. Repeat on the other side.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
Press your feet into the floor as you slowly raise your pelvis off the floor. Shift your feet about an inch to your right. Breathe out and draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot actively engaged and breathe in.
Breathe out and cross your right knee over your midline to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now sitting on top of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you like. Open your right arm to the right, while keeping it in line with your shoulders. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.
Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips, but this step isn’t necessary if it is too painful on your neck. When exhaling, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor. Hold the pose for up to a minute. Inhale and roll onto your back to come out of the pose, while drawing your right knee into your chest. Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for several moments before doing the other side.
Practice these poses regularly to reduce pain and muscle tension. You can also visit Yoga Box in San Diego to improve your technique.