Maybe working from the couch and hunching over your laptop is to blame, perhaps it’s the shoulder tenseness that comes along with a packed Zoom calendar and multiple looming deadlines, or something else entirely. Either way, work-from-home upper body stiffness and tightness is real — and uncomfortable.
Thankfully, your yoga practice can help you out here. According to Andrea Russell, a yoga instructor at Sky Ting in New York City, yoga can help with work-from-home tension “because it addresses the body on all levels.”
“The breathing and slower pace can address stress and anxiety (which we’re all feeling a lot these days!) while the movements relieve the physical tightness in the body,” Russell explains.
“A lot of times we focus heavily on the movements or specific shapes, but yoga is holistic, so it’s important to pay attention to the breath as you move into the postures. It’s a really simple but powerful practice that grounds you in the present moment and helps to relax the mind.”
After you log off for the day, connect to your breath and stretch with this five-pose sequence curated by Russell. “I actually WFH all day and these are the shapes I use when I’m feeling tight in my shoulders and neck,” she says. “You can do them at any time, but they’re also nice at the end of the day because they help to undo all the hunching and rounding in your spine! Personally, I love doing these movements whenever I feel like I’m stressed or tight.”
As an added bonus, moves 1-4 can actually be done seated, and Russell says you can even use the sequence as a warmup for a more vigorous yoga workout. While working through the pose directions, remember to take all the time you need between movements and truly listen to your body.