We spoke with one of our favourite yogis, Dylan Zukowski, about how we can get a little more yoga into our day!
Looking for yoga poses to ease off the aches and pains of the work day? Call off the search! We spoke with Dylan Zukowski of Yoga Infusion for her take on the best poses you can do. Dylan is a sun-obsessed, strong-willed, life-loving powerhouse based in Southern California - and she's generously shared her tips for helping you get more yoga into your every day!
From gentle movements to supported asanas, these yoga poses will have you feeling amazing in no time.
How could I incorporate more yoga into my daily routine?
"I like to advise that people schedule yoga in little increments. It could be 15 minutes, it could be 10 minutes! But make sure you put it on your to do list, and check it off like you would anything else.
Also, try to forget that yoga doesn't have to look like anything that you see on Instagram! It doesn't have to be a one-hour practice or a two-hour practice. Yoga can be three really intentional breaths during your workday, for example.
Whether you're doing a forward fold or taking a child's pose when you get the chance - that's still yoga!
Your yoga practice can be a series of brief restorative moments like that, and it will have huge benefits. The important thing to do is to schedule it in and make sure that you get it done."
What can I do to make doing yoga easier for myself?
"First up, try not to have any expectations of what that yoga looks like. Yoga for your body is going to look different to everybody else's.
Find a teacher or a style of yoga that resonates with you that you enjoy practicing. Doing this enables you to go to your mat and look forward to learning new things.
It looks different for different people, as your physical anatomy will have different needs to other people's. That means looking at yourself and your own practice with compassion.
The most important thing about your yoga practice is that you enjoy it. It's vital that you don't force yourself to do something that isn't working for you, because you just won’t keep it up."
What would the benefits be of doing a little yoga throughout my day?
"The benefits of doing yoga throughout your day are exponential!
We spend a lot of our days in the sympathetic nervous system which is the ‘fight or flight’ response. People are always going to a meeting, or are stuck in traffic or have to meet a deadline. We’re not supposed to spend all our time operating from our sympathetic nervous system.
We actually have something call a parasympathetic nervous system, which is our ‘rest and digest’ response. When your rest and digest system is functioning well you'll get more nutrients from your food, you'll sleep better, and you’ll have much more energy.
Relative to this, the benefits of yoga and meditation are cumulative. Meditation is especially important, and doesn't have to be anything too intense. It can just be a few breaths with intention which you can take at your desk.
When you do a few yoga poses throughout the day, even if it's just a little bit, the breath work and the restorative movement combine to balance the chemicals in your body. That way, you can spend more time switching between your two systems, which is really beneficial for you."
I sit at a desk all day, help! What could I do to move more? Do you have any tips?
"Number one, set an alarm. If you're at a desk all day, set alarms so you get up and move around for five minutes every hour. That reminder will help you to get some more steps in, get some stretches or do some jumping jacks!
Secondly, try clasping your hands behind your back and opening your chest, or maybe doing a forward fold or Child's Pose.
Squeeze in any gentle movement that gets you away from your desk for five minutes or even less – but make sure you do so every hour, as regularity is key.
Don’t be afraid to use your desk as a prop. For example, you can put your hands on your desk and then scoot your chair back as far as you can go whilst still keeping your hands on the desk. Then, allow your heart space to move towards the floor. Using gravity to help you, this yoga pose opens up the front of your shoulders, widens your collarbones and stretches out your pectoral muscles.
You can also try a stretch sitting in your chair. Take your right foot and move it up to your left knee, keeping your left foot on the floor. Intensify this by leaning forward over the leg that’s bent up on your knee, getting into the glutes. Think pigeon pose, at your desk!"
Do you have any top yoga poses for people who work from home?
"Yes! These are my top three yoga poses to counteract time sat at a desk."
Firstly, try a yin-style forward fold (Paschimottanasana).
"To do this, just sit on the ground with your hips up on a rolled-up blanket. Release through the upper back by allowing gravity to take your head forward for about seven to 11 minutes. This really opens up your posterior fascia line, which often crunches up whilst you're sitting at your desk.
We also hold our hands in such a specific way when we type that our shoulders start bunching up, creating a hunched over posture, so make sure you do a forward fold for sure."
Shoulder-opener (twisted cross pose)
"Another pose that I love if you’re sitting at a desk is a shoulder opener. Begin laying prone on your belly on your mat, stretching your arms out to either side of you. Roll to one side so your left hip and shoulder open up, as though you're opening up a book. Keep your right arm stretched out, so you’re opening up your chest and making space there.
You can always do this against a wall if this isn't accessible for you from the ground. Place your arm and leg along the length of the wall and then turn your body away from it. It's a huge shoulder and chest opener feels amazing."
Fish pose (Matsyasana)
"Supported fish pose is a third great pose. Taking a block or a bolster, lying on your back, place it underneath your spine towards your upper back.
You can have a blanket over the block so it's more comfortable, too! Open up your arms and hang out here for as long as you can. Make sure you allow gravity to take over and really open things up.
All these are amazing heart openers, which is something that we should all work on, especially if you work at a desk all day!"
Huge thanks to Dylan Zukowski of Yoga Infusion for guiding us with these great suggestions. Dylan helps women find strength, health, and happiness by (re)discovering the joy and beauty in their bodies through the daily practice of interval infused yoga classes.