Take your dog for a walk
Don’t mind if I do! This pose is a crowd pleaser and a personal favorite. When I’m not sitting at my desk and putting content together for instructors and clients, I am swimming in the San Francisco Bay. This move has a 3:1 ratio and is great for shoulders, hips and hamstring relief.
Since COVID-19 the landscape of how we work has changed dramatically. Going to the office required us to get up and walk to our car or public transportation. From there we had to walk down the street to the office or up the stairs out of the building garage.
Now the distance has shortened between our bedrooms to our living rooms. Not only are we sitting more but we are also walking less. Most likely we don’t have a proper ergonomic set up for our home office, so we are feeling the impacts of a poor workstation, as well. If we’re not consciously thinking about exercise it may feel difficult to sneak it in during the day, if at all.
Consider this simple movement as your stepping stone to conscious exercise throughout the day.
HOW TO TAKE YOUR DOG FOR A WALK
Place your hands on the desk, kitchen counter or flat surface. Hands should be about shoulder distance apart. The space between your index finger and middle finger points forward.
Walk your feet back until your spine is parallel to the floor, creating an “L” shape to the body. Take a few moments in stillness. Feel the feet on the floor and the length in the spine and sides of the body.
Once you’ve settled into the shape, bend the RIGHT knee, keeping the left leg straight. Then switch, bend the LEFT knee and keep the right leg straight. Continue alternating the legs at your own pace. Keep the breath nice and steady, inhaling on one side and exhaling on the other.
Finish with both legs straight. Once you’re ready, walk your feet in and take a seat!
BENEFITS OF TAKING YOUR DOG FOR A WALK
As I mentioned, this pose has a 3:1 benefit to movement ratio. This pose is like the superfood of asanas. The three main areas of benefit are:
Shoulders– this position creates a nice lengthening and opening for the shoulders with very little effort. The support of the table helps lift the arms overhead. The table also supports the hands, so no effort is needed to keep the arms in position.
If you were to extend your arms overhead while sitting in a chair, this would be more of a shoulder strengthener than a shoulder stretch. Taking your dog for a walk helps stretch the shoulders so eventually we can strengthen them.
Outer Hips-as you bend the knees side to side, the hips begin to move with you. This movement helps slowly “open” the outer hips stretching muscles like abductors, gluteus medius, IT band and deeper muscle tissue.
You have control over the movement and therefore control over the stretch. You can slowly pedal the knees, working your way into a deeper outer hip stretch as you go. You can also linger on one side for a few breaths if you feel tightness on one side more than the other.
Hamstrings- when you hold the pose in the beginning and end of the walk, lengthen the tailbone up towards the ceiling and imagine creating a bowl shape with the spine. Feel the lengthening of the hamstrings as you bend both knees and re straighten both legs, lengthening the tailbone each time. You can also do this as you bend one knee, lengthen the tailbone up.
WHEN TO TAKE YOUR DOG FOR A WALK
This pose is good to do anytime of the day. The benefits may vary and the pose may feel different, depending on your experience during the day.
Morning Walk- your body is the most honest in the morning. Taking your dog for a walk first thing in the AM can feel like you’re having the most impact on your shoulders, hips and hamstrings. You may feel more stiffness in the body first thing in the morning, which is also a good reason to make sure you take your dog for a walk!
Midday Walk- this pose is a good reminder to get up and move your body in the middle of your workday. If you have back to back meetings or calls, taking your dog for a walk is an easy pose to sneak in between sessions. Again, it has a 3:1 benefit ratio so you get the best bang for your buck!
Evening Walk- the forward fold aspect of this pose can have a very calming and cooling effect for the nervous system. The benefit of doing this in the late afternoon or early evening can be to unwind and calm the mind. This move is grounding and centering physically and mentally, so definitely consider this as you transition out of work and into the next event of the evening.
Since COVID-19 the landscape of Office Yoga sessions have changed. Everything is online, including our yoga and meditation classes. I am finding myself teaching shorter, more robust sessions, some of them only 10-20 min in length. In order to get the most benefit in the shortest amount of time I have to be very thoughtful about what I choose to share.
I will discuss much more on poses like this in the upcoming Office Yoga Teacher Training coming this fall. Now more than ever before companies are wanting to keep their employees engaged, connected and healthy. We are navigating this change collectively, and globally. Office Yoga sessions are in high demand. It’s important that we use our time wisely, whether it’s 10 min at the beginning of a meeting or a two hour workshop on the weekend. Offering poses that give the best benefit in the time we have is not only essential, but our responsibility as instructors.
If you’re interested in pre-enrolling in the Office Yoga Teacher Training send us a message. We look forward to connecting with you soon. In the meantime, go take your dog for a walk!