Whether it’s when we’re working from home, or binge watching TV, many of us are prone to lying sideways on the couch for hours on end whenever we get the chance.
We all know that moving about and stretching your body is one of the best solutions for aches and pains, but if you can’t be bothered to get up off the couch and do your stretches on a mat, we have the solution: sofa yoga.
Sofa yoga (yoga from the comfort of your sofa) is a ‘great way to promote joint health and increase your range of motions’ while reducing stress and anxiety, Marisse Gaskell, founder of Marisse Yoga.
According to DFS, Google searches for ‘sofa yoga’ are on the rise, so it looks like people are already becoming wise to the trend, which, says Marisse, ‘works to alleviate this pain and improve posture in a convenient and accessible way’.
What are we waiting for then? Try Marisse’s sofa yoga flow to cure those achy joints with minimal effort.
Do this yoga flow from your couch
First thing’s first: focus on your breath.
Start the practice by taking a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, feeling your abdomen expand and sink respectively.
Keep this rhythm throughout the practice to promote calm and relaxation.
Seated Cat Cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)
‘This movement can help to improve spinal mobility and flexibility, as well as reduce tension and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and back,’ says Marisse. ‘A great one if you’ve been sitting still for a long time.’
- Sit comfortably at the edge of your sofa and slowly arch your spine, lifting your chest and dropping your shoulders down and back (Cow)
- Then round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and leaning back (Cat)
- Continue to flow between these two poses for five to ten rounds or until you feel a sense of release
Eagle Arms (Garudasana)
This pose, says Marisse, strengthens and releases tension in your upper back, shoulders and arms.
- Sit on the sofa while keeping your spine long and feet planted onto the ground
- Lift your right arm in front of you and cross the right elbow over your left elbow, bringing the backs of the hands together, or maybe double-crossing your arms to bring your palms together
- Play around with raising your elbows and pressing your forearms away from your face while taking gentle twists from side to side
- Hold for a few breaths and switch sides
Seated Side Stretch (Parsva Sukhasana)
‘This is a great way to stretch the shoulders, neck and sides of the body, reduce stiffness and increase flexibility, especially if you’ve been scrolling for a long time and looking down,’ says Marisse.
- Sit comfortably at the edge of your sofa, with your spine straight and your feet on the ground
- Put your right hand on the sofa next to your right hip (or you can anchor your hand on the arm or surface of your sofa)
- Lift your left arm up and over your head, reaching up towards the ceiling and over to the right side, keeping your left hip grounded on the sofa and feeling the stretch in your left side
- Look up toward your top hand for an extra stretch in your neck
- Hold for five breaths, release gently, and switch sides
Spinal Twists (Vakrasana)
‘These twist can improve spinal mobility and flexibility, reducing stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and back that is often caused by rounding when sitting at desks or on sofas,’ explains Marisse.
- Sitting comfortably with a straight spine, start by reaching both arms up to stretch and then bring your left hand to your right knee or thigh, and your right hand to the back of your sofa
- Look over your right shoulder and slowly, gently ease your way into your twist, turning your chest toward the back of the sofa until you feel an appropriate stretch
- Use the back or arm of your sofa, as support or leverage to increase the range of movement and deepen your stretch
- Hold for a few breaths and switch sides
Figure of Four (Eka Pada Utkatasana)
‘This is a great pose to try adopting even while watching TV,’ says Marisse.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee, so your right knee angles out to the side and your right hip opens
- You can deepen the stretch using your hands to gently press down on your right knee, or begin to fold forward bringing your chest closer to your legs
- Hold for five breaths, release and switch sides
Legs-up-the-sofa (Viparita Karani)
‘This pose can relieve stress and tension in the legs and back,’ Marisse explains.
‘It has been known to promote relaxation and improve circulation, as well as alleviate symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety.’
- Lie with your back on the floor and your legs draped onto the sofa
- Let your legs and feet relax, resting your arms wherever feels comfortable for you
- Relax your shoulders and neck, and perhaps place a cushion under your head
- Stay in this position for five minutes or as long as you like, bringing your attention to your breath
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