As well as being a yoga teacher, I work in the hospitality industry. I know first hand how it can negatively affect the body. The long hours, late nights, pumped with adrenaline (and caffeine!), dehydrated, on your feet all day, carrying heavy plates and whilst always maintaining perfectly smiley demeanor eventually begins to take it’s toll. Especially if you don’t balance all of this hecticness with a nice relaxing yoga practice.
And believe me, I know that yoga is the last thing on your mind when you have just finished a monster double shift and all you want to do is drink beer and go to sleep. But trust me, it is the best thing for you! Luckily I’m not working such crazy long hours at the moment so I can fit a practice in easily, but there have been times when I’m doing 45 hours a week on my feet and I can barely even look at my yoga mat.
If you can relate to this feeling, this may be the sequence for you!
When I was feeling particularly pooped recently after doing a 10 hour shift, I managed to force myself onto my mat to unravel a little bit.
And here I will share that little sequence with you, so you too can begin to release all of the tension that is building up in your body and mind from being such a bloody good worker!
All you need is half an hour and you will feel so much better. You can do this sequence after your shift, or at anytime that you are feeling too tired for a more active yoga practice but still want to do something.
Before you start
Before you start the sequence, come into a crossed legged position. Close your eyes and tune in to how your body is feeling. Really feel it, all of the aches and pains. Notice the activity of your mind (it’s probably all over the show!). It’s all completely normal. Don’t fight it, deeply feel it. Set the intention for yourself to stay present with the breath throughout the practice and to relax and let go.
1) Self foot massage
Start by taking hold of your right foot and giving it a really nice rub. Massage each of your toes. It can be really nice to interlace your fingers between your toes for a minute and making circles with the ankle joint. Give your right foot some loving, and then do the same with the other foot.
2) Legs up the wall pose / Viparita Karani
After a long shift, your legs and feet are probably very sore and heavy. And putting your feet up is the next step to feeling human again.
Bring your mat up against the wall. Sit with your left hip up against the wall and then windmill your legs up onto the wall. So now your bum is touching the wall, your legs are up the wall and you are lying flat on your mat.
Stay in this pose for at least 5 minutes, ideally 10. Set a timer and relax. It’s nice to have your hands on the belly so you can really focus on the breath.
3) Supine Butterfly/ Supta Baddha Konasana
Gently come out of the previous position and lye supine on your mat. Bring the soles of the feet together and let the knees relax down towards the ground. Stay here for 5 minutes. Again, bring the hands onto the belly and stay really connected to your breath. Count to five on every inhale and every exhale. Every time you lose focus, remind yourself of your intention to relax and let go.
4) Eye of the needle pose/ Sucirandrasana
Now gently turn the soles of your feet onto the mat and bring your heels in towards your buttocks, keeping the knees bent. Take your right leg and rest the side of your right foot on your left thigh. Feel the stretch in your outer right hip. Gently draw the left knee in towards the chest to stretch the hip further. Stay for one minute and then do the same on the opposite leg. For more information about this pose, click here.
5) Bridge Pose/ Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
To activate the legs again, and to release tension in the spine, we will now practice bridge pose. With both legs bent, the soles of the feet on the floor, hip width apart and close to the hips, begin to focus on your deep breathing again. As you inhale, push into your feet as you raise your hips up towards the sky. Exhale as you slowly roll the spine back down, vertebrae by vertebrae, like a wheel. Repeat a few times, matching movement with breath. For more information about Bridge Pose, click here.
6) Supine Twist/ Supta Matsyendrasana
Draw your knees in towards your chest and outstretch your arms along side the body at shoulder height. As you exhale, take the knees over to the right side. Gaze out towards the opposite hand. Stay here for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Click here for more information about this pose.
7) Sphinx Pose/ Salamba Bhujangasana
To help release tension in the lower back, we will come into Sphinx Pose, which we will hold for 3 minutes (or around 2o long breaths). So roll onto your belly. Come up onto your forearms, with your elbows underneath and slightly in front of your shoulders. Come up to a height that feels comfortable for your lower back. In my article about Yin Yoga, I discuss Sphinx Pose in more detail.
8) Child’s Pose/ Balasana
After Sphinx Pose very very gently push yourself up and back into child’s pose. The spine is being stretched in the opposite direction to what it was in Sphinx Pose, so take it easy. You may like to have your knees together or apart, just see what feels right for you. Let your forehead completely relax into the mat. Feel your breath in the back of the body. Stay here for 5 minutes.
Take it very slowly after your have finished your sequence. Lye down for a while, drink some water, have a bath. Do something lovely for yourself.
I really hope that this sequence helps you like it helps me. Let me know how you get on in the comments box below, or get in touch.
Lots of Love,