Hadley McClellan is the Founder of EvCon FITNESS, which matches event organizers with local certified fitness instructors to make it easier for event attendees to keep up with their fitness goals while at conferences at events. A certified RYT200 Yoga Teacher and the Senior Manager of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, Hadley has combined her two passions and expertise in yoga and conference management to connect events with wellness across the U.S.
Stress-Relieving Yoga Stretches for Event Professionals
As an events professional accustomed to working on-site at conferences and trade shows, you’re used to running around the showfloor, grabbing just a few fleeting moments throughout your jam-packed day to sit down, take your shoes off and relax your tired body. But now, with most of us strapped to our home desk chairs and likely spending more time than we’d like on video conferences, we’re facing a different set of aches and pains – those that come from lack of activity, slouching over a computer and hours of sitting.
To help rejuvenate your body as well as calm any anxiety that you might be experiencing right now, here are three yoga poses to help you decompress, “unkink” your muscles and calm your mind. So sit up straight, grab a mat and discover your Zen with these satisfying stretches.
The first pose is a hip opener, which you’ll want to do sitting on the floor. Here’s how:
- Stretch one leg out straight and place the other foot inside the thigh of the stretched-out leg.
- Slowly move your knee up and down in a steady motion to get the fluidity back in your outer hips.
- After about 10 – 20 movements, take the knee that has been moving up and down and place it in your corresponding elbow, then place the foot in the opposite elbow.
The key is to keep your back straight, so if you need help with this pose you can try sitting with your spine against a wall. If your flexibility is limited, hold the knee with one hand and cup the foot with your other hand. Rock side-to-side, keeping your hips on the ground. Keeping mobility in your hips helps prevent stiffness and encourages flexibility and movement.
The second pose works to open your shoulders and reverse the effects of slouching day in and day out. Let’s try it:
- Start standing, feet separated hip-width apart or wider.
- Interlock your fingers at the base of your spine.
- Drop your shoulders, bring your shoulder blades closer to your spine, shift your hips slightly forward, tuck your chin into your chest and then drop your head back.
As you lift your heart toward the sky, notice how this posture opens your shoulders and chest, taking weight out of the top of your neck. It also releases fresh oxygenated blood into areas that are normally cut off during our everyday posture.
The final pose is a side-facing, wide-legged forward fold. This position stretches the hamstrings and shoulder blades and helps to calm anxiety by dropping your head below your heart. Give it a try:
- Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with your feet slightly pigeon-toed.
- Slowly fold down, grabbing the outside of your calves or heels and gently pulling on them to help drop the crown of your head closer to the ground.
- Pull your lower belly in toward your spine.
- Pull your hips forward so your weight is balanced evenly between your feet and between the heels and toes.
If you want extra help, try leaning against a wall as you fold forward, bending your knees so you can place your hands on the ground and then walking your feet back to position your legs against the wall. Notice how your hips will align more steadily. Take easy breaths in this pose, letting gravity slow you down and calm your heart rate. Before rolling back up to standing, make sure the lower belly is still pulled up and in and then stand in place for a few breaths before walking away.
Feel better? I hope so! Yoga can work wonders for a tired, tense or depleted body and mind, so consider implementing just a short practice for a few minutes each day and you will be amazed by the results: a calmer, more flexible and less stressed-out you!
This post originally appeared on The EXPO Group website.