I’ve been running the morning Yoga Classes at YogaJak for over 15 months now and have developed a set routine for the warmup. I like taking things a bit easy to start with. Especially at the moment with the cold weather. You need a good 10 minutes of gentle movements to get the muscles firing up which helps prevent injury. Once this has happened, its then onto the main part of the class which will either be a routine I’ve been working on or a request for something from one of the blokes in class. The most requested class is one with a lot of breath work and meditation, followed by a class focusing on specific areas.
The main physical areas of concern for men that I see would be shoulders, back, hips and hammies. These generally relate to the jobs they have. There are men who work in an office all day who have tight hammies from sitting down a lot, plus the rounded shoulders from working on a computer. Does anyone take a 5-10 minute break every hour as you’re supposed to? I doubt it. I have mechanics with bad backs along with sparkies, plumbers and any other manual trade really. Do you do a two man lift on anything over 20kgs? Again, probably not. So, with this is mind here’s a few poses you can do at work whether it’s the office, the site or the workshop.
Sit on a chair, a pile of bricks (!) whatever you can find as long as your feet are hip width apart and flat on the floor.
Take a deep breath and reach your arms up to the sky. As you exhale drop your head down behind you and bend slightly from the upper back and chest. Imagine your chest rising up as you bend back. Keep your core sucked in as you perform this. Repeat 4 or 5 times.
Either use a desk or something for your hands to rest on (at desk height). Straighten your arms and bend your knees slightly to achieve a flat back. Gravity will give your shoulders a good stretch and counteract the hunching that can happen when performing certain tasks. Hold for about a minute, or until your work mates see you and start taking the piss.
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend knees slightly and fold from the hips. The knees need to be bent enough so you maintain a flat back. Just hang there and let gravity take effect. It’s a great one for counteracting gravity. It lengthens out your spine and decompresses your shoulders, plus the blood flow to the head will give your more focus and energy. If you want a bit more, try straightening out the legs so the hammies fire up. BUT don’t forget to keep the flat back, this protects your lower spine.
Your back can get achy from sitting or hunching over all day. A seated twist will get the blood moving around the spine along with helping your digestion.
Sitting down with your feet flat on the floor, lift up so your spine is tall and straight. Inhale, and on the exhale twist to one side, from your abs mainly but also a little bit from your upper back. If you’re sat in a chair use the armrest that you’re facing to grab onto. If not grab the leg you’re facing. Hold for a few seconds and release. Then do the other side.
This can be done ANYWHERE! Well, almost. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Inhale and stretch your arms up to the sky. Imagine someone’s got hold of your wrists and is trying to lift you up. Take your arms wide, drop your shoulder down. Lift your chest to the sky. Engage your core and lean back. Drop your head down behind just like the seated back bend.