Standing all day?

September 03, 2017

Standing all day?

Beauty Advisors standing all day require a strategy to stay strong from doors opening to the end of their shift. Bright eyed and bursting with vigour, Anjalika Bose-Weber, based in Goa, India shares some yoga poses especially chosen for esprit Magazine’s all-standing BA readership!

Neither sitting nor standing for long hours does anything good to the health of the physical body. Standing for long hours compresses the lower back, injures the knees over time, blocks up the energy lines along the spinal column and is very bad for circulation in the legs. The worst affected parts of the body are the legs and the lower back and this in turn wreaks havoc with the posture of the upper body, and therefore to the entire endocrine system. Over time, this creates several imbalances in the body which manifest initially as fatigue, nervousness, anxiety and mild depression. However a daily practice of Sun Salutations A & B in the morning, a 15 minute ritual of meditation, combined with a few simple evening poses will make a difference to how you feel.

Remember two important things: 1. Morning Poses that strengthen your gluteals (buttock muscles) and quadraceps (front of thigh muscles), will ensure the safety of your spine and back when you’re standing for long hours 2. Evening Poses must be chosen in a way that they re-energise the mind and release tensions from the neck and back, since the lower back lumbers are most affected in standing jobs.

MORNING POSES

1. HANGING RAG DOLL

Why: This pose is especially useful to awaken the lower back in the morning, as it opens up the space between the lower vertebral discs. It also awakens the brain, directing circulation from the heart to the head.

  • Stand tall with your feet about hip width apart
  • Inhale to reach your hands over your head
  • Exhale to forward fold and cup your hands underneath your elbows
  • Hang low, softly sway from side to side, or tip backwards and forwards along the base of your feet. Knees can be kept soft
  • Stay in the pose for about 60 seconds / 12 breaths

Hanging Rag Doll Yoga Pose

2. TWISTED SIDE-ANGLE POSE

Why: This is an excellent pose for massaging the inner abdominal organs, and for creating balance in the body. A fantastic pose for releasing pains, knots and blocks in the back and for strengthening the knees.

  • From Downward Facing Dog, step the right foot forward between your hands
  • The left hand stays on the floor either inside or outside of the right foot
  • Sweep the right arm up to the sky and reach as far back as possible gently twisting the upper body open to the sky
  • You may draw big circles with your right arm from the sky to the ground and back up to the sky, inhaling to circle up, exhaling to circle down
  • Repeat on the left side

3. CLOSED BRIDGE POSE

Why: one of the best poses for working on and strengthening the gluteal muscles as well as releasing tensions from the back of the neck. A great stretch for expanding the heart centre through activation of the thymus gland.

  • Lie down on your mat for a few moments to gain awareness of the body on the ground
  • Bend your knees, and walk your heels back towards the hips until your hands can wrap around the ankles
  • Engage your glutes and gently lift the lower back off the earth
  • As you lift the lower back away from the ground, slowly walk your shoulders and elbows towards each other, until your spine begins to arch forwards/upwards
  • A good variation is the gentle bridge, with hands facing down on the ground, the spine not so arched The important thing is to keep the glutes engaged
  • Hold the pose for at least ten inhales and exhales, keeping the glutes engaged

EVENING POSES

1. BIG TOE POSE

Why: calms the brain, relieves anxiety and curbs depression, this pose is a deeper and more mindful version of the morning rag-doll and is an ideal end-of-day pose. 

  • Stand tall with your hands on the waist and inhale to sweep them up. Exhale to forward fold and hinge forward from the waist
  • If you cannot reach the toes, bend your knees
  • Point your elbows out
  • With every exhale draw the navel in towards the spine, deepen the hollow in the lower back and draw your upper body closer to the lower body
  • Soften the neck, dangle the head and gently move it from side to side
  • Hold the pose for at least 12 rounds of inhales and exhales

2. TRIKONASANA

Why: induces blood circulation in the entire body, ideal after a long day on your feet, reduces blood pressure, stress and anxiety, cures indigestion (a potential by-product of standing up all day as there is less circulation in the digestive organs, since all the blood is directed towards the legs).

  • Start in a simple standing posture or Tadasana. Bring hands to the waist and step the right leg back pointing the foot at an angle
  • Check the heels: they can be in a straight line or slightly apart
  • Make sure the hips are squared to the side of the mat
  • Try to keep the upper and lower body in the same plane
  • Swing the right hip out and reach forward with the left hand
  • Hinge from the waist, lifting up through the sternum and heart centre
  • Use the left hand to lift away the toes or simply place the left hand on the outside of the leg. Turn your gaze towards the right hand
  • Hold the pose for at least 12 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Follow up with a child’s pose/balasana

3. LEGS UP THE WALL POSE

Why: A MUST-DO, and amazing end-of-the day pose to revert blood circulation from the legs back through the heart. Prevents spider veins, a dreaded result of standing or sitting jobs. Calms the mind, controls blood pressure, stretches the whole back, torso and relaxes tired legs.

  • Lie down on the ground with your hips facing a wall, and wiggle your way all the way to the wall until the sit-bones are in full contact with the wall
  • Feet can be up to hip width apart
  • Spread your arms open beside you or over your head. Tuck the chin down to point towards the sternum
  • You may place a bolster or a mat beneath your back for additional support
  • Close your eyes, focusing on the breath, holding the pose for at least five minutes

4. SPHINX POSE

Why: Excellent for the whole back and releasing stresses that a standing job brings to the spinal column.

  • Lie down on the ground face down
  • Place your arms in a way that your elbows are right beside your chest, palms down
  • Inhale as you slowly lift your face and chest away from the ground giving your back a gentle arch, keeping the navel in contact with the floor
  • Internally rotate your legs and draw the elbows back
  • Hold the pose for 12 breaths and release
  • You may also bend your knees in a more relaxed version and use this pose while reading a book or working on your laptop

Anjalika is the creative force behind the Yoga and Detox programs at The Mandala Resort in Goa, India. Born in India, she has swung extensively between India and Europe from the age of 3, for travel, studies and work. Her first contact with Yoga was at the age of 7 as part of compulsory education in Indian schools. Indian by birth, Earth citizen by Spirit.




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