Tension-Relieving Yoga Poses

From bed to desk, to car, to sofa; our days can often consist of mainly sitting – here’s how to strengthen your body and let go of tension

Spending all day sat at a desk can leave you feeling stiff and achy or, worse still, result in headaches and backache. When we sit for prolonged periods, the muscles at the rear of the body can become inactive, while the muscles at the front of the body can become short, potentially causing tension and pain. This workout is designed to relieve that tension by targeting the muscles of the back, core and glutes. Repeat the routine up to three times per week, performing three rounds of each exercise.

If you spend all day in a seated position, try to get up and go for a short walk each hour. While walking, think about your posture, keeping your shoulders in line with your ears and growing tall from the crown of your head. If you know certain muscles become tight by the end of the day, stretch these areas regularly throughout the day to prevent tension from building up.

Cat cow

1. Begin in an all-fours position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips, with your fingertips pointing straight ahead. Your head should be in a neutral position (in line with your back), gazing down between your hands.

2. Inhale, dropping your stomach towards the floor and lifting your chin and chest to look towards the ceiling. Draw your shoulders away from your ears and broaden across your chest.

3. Exhale, draw your belly button to your spine, rounding your back and release your head, gazing down towards the floor. Repeat this process 10 times, moving with the breath.

Side plank rotation

1. Start in a side plank position with your hips stacked on top of each other and your body in a straight line from your head to your toes. Your upper arm should be bent, with your fingertips gently touching your temple.

2. Rotate your upper body towards the floor, bringing your elbow towards the opposite fingertips.

3. Reverse the movement to return to the start. Perform eight reps, then switch to the other side and perform another eight reps.

Glute thrusters

1. Sitting on the floor with your upper back resting against a bench or step, extend one leg out in front of you, then raise your hips and that leg off the floor. This is your starting position.

2. Raise your hips to form a straight line between your shoulders and the knee of the supporting leg, squeezing your glute as you do so.

3. Reverse the movement to return to the start, then repeat. Perform 12 reps in total, then switch legs and repeat, performing another 12 reps.


1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, set yourself up with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Hinge forward from your hips so your shoulders are slightly higher than your hips, but make sure that you don’t round your back. Your arms should point straight down towards the floor with your palms facing each other.

2. Bend your arms to bring your hands to just outside your ribs, keeping your elbows tucked in and squeezing between your shoulder blades as you do so. Straighten your arms and repeat. If you’re struggling to keep your back straight, bend your knees a little more and hinge a little less from the hips so you’re standing slightly more upright. Perform 12 reps in total, picking a weight that is challenging but that still allows you to complete all 12 reps.

Alternating supermans

1. Begin lying on your front with your arms extended straight out in front of you.

2. Slowly raise one arm, the opposite leg, as well as your head and chest two inches off the floor. Try to maintain a constant distance between your chin and chest to keep your head in a neutral position.

3. Lower to the floor, then repeat with your other arm and leg. Perform 20 reps in total.

Kristoph Thompson

Professional PT Kristoph Thompson guides us through a quick and easy home workout each month. If you enjoyed this one, why not share your fitness results over on Facebook @healthandwellbeingmag

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