During the harvest rush, it’s not uncommon for farmers up and down Britain to spend hours upon hours every day sat in uncomfortable, unnatural positions.
Couple with this with what is an incredibly hectic, stressful time for anyone in the agricultural industry and you have a recipe for pain, dull aches and whole body tension. If you’re not careful, you can carry this with you long after your harvest is over.
Here Marcella provides the antidote, these simple but effective yoga movements will help to improve posture, release areas of tension, relieve stress. If performed regularly they can help to stave off injury in the long run.
1. Anjanayasana Lunge
Start with the feet together hip distant apart and step one foot back lowering the knee. (Think marriage proposal) Make sure your front knee is bent and stacked over the ankle in line with your second and third toe. The longer the stance, the deeper you get into this pose and the bigger the stretch of your psoas muscle, the largest hip flexor. The back foot can remain flat or toes tucked depending on what’s more comfortable on the back knee. You can also place a towel under the back knee if there is any discomfort here.
Keep the torso upright pulling the belly button in towards the spine to keep your core active.
Broaden the collarbones and take the arms out either side keeping a bend in the elbows to open the chest.
Never allow the front knee to go past the ankle.
2. Lizard Pose
From your anjanayasana lunge, bring your hands down either side of the front foot. From here, place the front foot to the outer edge of the closest hand. For example if the right foot is in front place it to the outer edge of the right hand.
Tuck the back toes under and you can either stay here with the back knee down or to really get deep into this pose lift the back knee off of the ground. To get deeper still you can try rocking forwards and backwards as well as side to side.
3. Humble Warrior
Begin standing with the feet together hip distant apart, hands on hips. Step one foot back and place to the closest edge of the mat. For example if stepping the right foot back, place to the right edge of the mat so that you have a wider stance for better balance and support. Place the heel down with your toes turned out at a 45 degree angle. Make sure you keep this leg active and press down through the pinky toe and outer edge of the foot to keep you steady. Your hip bones want to be facing forward so if your right foot is back, bring your right hip forward slightly as you draw the left hip back. Make sure your front knee is bent and stacked on top of the ankle like it would be in a lunge. Circle your arms around you and interlace the fingers behind. Really squeeze the shoulders together to open the chest. If this feels ok, start to lean the chest forward to bring your left shoulder towards your left knee (this is if you have your left foot in front of you, if you have your right foot in front then place your right shoulder to right knee.) To come out of this pose, slowly come back up and release the hands.
4. Malasana Squat
Begin standing with the feet shoulder width apart and turn the toes out slightly to point to the front corners of the mat. Lower down the sit bones as if coming to sit down with your hands together in a prayer position at your hearts centre sinking into your squat. Keep your sit bones off of the ground. Your heels should stay firmly on the mat. If the heels stay lifted, you can place a rolled up mat underneath them to bring the heels on to. Lift the chest and broaden the collar bones to keep your upper body upright. Place the elbows to the inside of your thighs and push the thighs apart to get deeper into your stretch.
5. Thread the Needle
This is a great stretch for the shoulders. Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over the wrists and the knees hip distant apart. Put the weight onto one hand whilst you weave the other hand underneath this arm and you place the shoulder and your cheek onto the mat so that your now facing the supporting arm. Keep the supporting arm bent at a right angle whilst you begin circling the shoulder. If this is enough stay here, or to get deeper into your stretch begin lifting the supporting arm up pointing the fingers towards the sky and bringing your weight onto the shoulder that’s on the mat.