Spending long hours standing or sitting at a desk can lead to stiffness and tension in our bodies. After a day of work I tend to feel stiff and a little lethargic, but I've found this simple and quick yoga stretching sequence has been a bit of a game-changer. It's designed specifically to ease stiffness and stretch out all your muscles, and all it takes is 10 minutes, which means it's easy to fit into a daily routine.
You don't need any equipment to try this sequence, although one of the best yoga mats will help keep you stable and provide cushioning under your joints in the all fours positions, and you'll want to be wearing stretchy clothing you can move freely in – I tend to stick on a pair of yoga pants.
You could try this routine first thing in the morning, if you've woken up feeling a bit creaky (although if this is happening regularly, perhaps it's time to rethink your sleeping pose or even invest in a more supportive, better mattress) but I prefer it for just after I get home from work, to ease out the stiffness from being sat down all day.
The stretch sequence comes from certified yoga instructor Francine Cipollone aka 'Bird' of the Yoga With Bird YouTube channel (opens in new tab), who does a great job of providing enough explanation to make it clear what you need to be doing without having to scrutinise your screen, but without the kind of constant chatter that can be annoying while you're trying to focus on your movements and take a moment for yourself.
There's a combination of seated twists, stretches on all fours and some lying on your front. This sequence is designed to stretch out the whole body, including the upper and lower back and hips, with poses targeting all your main muscle groups. If you want something more active, try these yoga poses for energy, or if you're trying to wind down, you might like to add some breathing exercises.
While there are some 'proper' yoga poses in there, you don't need to be an expert; this sequence is perfectly easy to follow even if you've never done any yoga before. It's suitable for most people – if you're not super flexible the basic sequence is still accessible, and for more confident or experienced yogis, Francine mentions some variations for push the stretches further. For example, she there are options to bind in certain positions, and you could do the seated stretches from Lotus (as Francine does) or in pretty much any seated position that's comfortable for you – you can even be sat on a chair.