Workplace Wellness Benefits: 6 Yoga Poses That Improve Posture and Reduce Injury
Did you know that yoga is a 5,000-year-old practice? That’s right, people have been doing yoga for longer than most countries have been around.
This practice started off as spiritual, and while those spiritual roots are still important, many people now use it for fitness.
Yoga is perfect for a quick fitness break in the workplace. You can do it in a small space and it’s quiet enough to not disturb other workers. It’s a workplace wellness essential.
We’re here to discuss a few quick and easy yoga poses that are great for improving posture (among other things). Read on to learn more.
1. Plank Pose
It should come as no surprise that one of the best yoga poses for posture is the plank pose. Anyone who’s ever worked out, even in high school gym class, knows that planks are fantastic for the core!
Plank pose might seem like an unusual first choice for this article because it won’t make you stand up straighter or hold your shoulders in better alignment right away. Instead, it focuses on long-term results.
When you strengthen your core, you become more functional overall. Core strength is foundational to good posture, balance, and more.
It can help you reduce workplace injury chances (especially if you or your employees have to lift anything even slightly heavy or bend over) and it can be a great break to stretch out your back for a moment.
For a simple plank, start on your knees and put your hands underneath your shoulders to support your body. Send your feet back behind you so your back is in a straight diagonal line. If necessary, you can support yourself with your forearms instead (which is easier on the arms but harder on the core).
2. Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is the easiest pose on this list and it’s great for a mid-workday break.
Many people think that mountain pose is just “standing up straight), but this isn’t really true. While you will be standing up straight, you’ll also be paying special attention to your alignment. In mountain pose, you have to keep your shoulders back and align your head, “heart,” and pelvis.
Stand straight with your feet either close together or hips-width depending on your comfort level. Contract your thigh muscles and brace your core, but don’t bend your spine or over-stretch your shoulders.
You can have your hands at your side (palm forward) or at your chest. Some people like to raise their arms to the sky during mountain pose for an extra stretch.
3. Cobra Pose
Cobra is a great way to transition out of plank pose and it’s fantastic for your back (as long as you’re careful and don’t push your limits).
It’s great for people who spend all day hunched over an assignment or computer. It gently bends the back the other way and it’s comfortable for the shoulders.
Lay on your belly with your hands on either side of your chest beneath your shoulders. Press up gently and squeeze your elbows against your sides. Tuck your chin as you bring yourself up.
You want to keep the majority of your torso on the ground. This is different from upward-facing dog (which is another good pose for posture, but more strenuous).
4. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-facing dog is one of the most relaxing yoga poses (as long as you have at least a bit of shoulder and core strength). It will take some time before you have enough flexibility to do the pose “right,” but it’s a safe enough pose even for beginners. That’s why it’s in almost every yoga session!
It’s great for stretching and strengthening the back and core, as well as the shoulders. It can also stretch your hamstrings.
To do downward-facing dog, it’s best to start in plank pose. Push your hips up and back and try to get your ears to align with your arms (though it’s okay if you can’t quite get there yet).
You can be on your toes, but your end goal is to get your heels flat on the ground. Your gaze should be between your knees or feet.
To get out of this pose, you have options. You can sink back into a plank, bring your knees down to the floor, or walk your hands back to your feet for an even better hamstring stretch.
5. Wide Leg Forward Fold (With Shoulder Stretch)
This is a great yoga pose for wellness in the workplace because you can do it without straying too far from your desk. Aside from being good if you want to improve posture, it’s also a fantastic stretch and great for getting some bonus blood flow to your head.
Stand with your feet far apart, wider than a yoga mat if you have one). Four feet is a good place to start, but this will depend on your size and your own comfort level.
Interlace your fingers behind your back and lift your chin and chest up. Then, slowly fold forward and let your arms hang over your head (wherever they are comfortable).
6. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose isn’t as convenient in the workplace, but it is great for posture and you don’t need a lot of space to do it. It’s another pose that can be challenging for people with bad backs, so do it carefully.
Lay on your back with your knees bent on your feet flat on the floor. Have your arms rest by your sides.
Press your feet onto the floor and lift your back and bottom off of the ground. Only do this to your own comfort level. This pose will also strengthen your glutes and thighs.
Use Yoga to Enhance Workplace Wellness
A few quick yoga poses can really enhance your workplace wellness! Whether you have employees take a yoga break mid-day or you do a morning yoga session, these poses are fantastic for posture (and they’re a great stretch). Why not give them a try?
Are you interested in workplace wellness programs in Atlanta? We want to work with you! Contact us to learn more or get a quote today.