9 Yoga Poses for Nurses

Easy stretches and yoga poses you can incorporate in your daily routine.

Nurses work long hours and spend the majority of time on their feet—standing, walking, even running. Add to that the physical effort that entails bending, lifting, twisting, and countless repetitive motions. The result? Nurses often suffer from injuries that include sprains, strains, back injuries, and sore muscles. There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent harm and reduce the strain on your shoulders, back, neck, and arms.

Let’s start by understanding the risk. Less flexible muscles restrict mobility, which in turn increases the likelihood of sprains and strains. In contrast, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury. Stretching before and after your shift will help reduce the tension felt during and after a long workday. These low impact poses, which can be done at home, will drastically increase stamina and strength as well as help decrease muscle aches associated with overworked, weaker muscles.

The benefits of yoga and simple stretching include:

  • Increased circulation and blood flow
  • Better flexibility
  • Improved posture
  • Pain relief
  • Increased oxygen flow

We know you have a hectic schedule and work long hours, however, devoting just a small amount of time to a consistent routine can really payoff. Try these tips to get on a path to success:

  • Stretch at least once per day
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Don’t force your body into awkward positions
  • If the stretch is painful, stop and revisit your technique
  • Always move into your stretch gradually
  • Start by holding stretches for a short time, then gradually build
  • Stretch your entire body
  • Breathe deeply and relax your body
  • Repeat the stretch at least once to gain range of motion

Our team has gathered some very effective yoga poses that work wonders for nurses who are on their feet all day. These are designed to help alleviate tension and build stamina in your back, hips, arms, neck and shoulders. Don’t ever attempt an exercise that makes you unstable or causes pain. If you have any physical concerns about any positions or feel unsure about your ability, please consult with your doctor for professional advice.

9 stretches and yoga poses to incorporate into your daily routine:

  1. Split Squats

Put one leg forward and take the other leg back to give you a long stance. When in this position slowly drop straight down until your back knee touches the floor and you can feel your thigh in your front leg stretching. Slowly rise up again and repeat with your legs reversed. Doing this a few times can help to relieve pain in your legs and strengthen your thigh muscles. Watch video here.

2. Crescent Moon Pose

Crescent moon pose may also be referred to by its Sanskrit name, Anjaneyasana. Stand normally and raise your arms above your head until the palms touch, making sure your keep your arms straight. Bend to your right, slowly, until you can feel the muscles on the left side of your body stretching. Try to keep the rest of your body as still as possible and don’t push your hips to the left. Simply bend until you feel a slight stretch. Hold this pose for ten seconds and then slowly return to standing straight. Then bend to the left. Watch video here.

3. Triceps Stretch

Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead. Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back. Reach your left hand overhead and grasp just below your right elbow. Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.

Switch arms and repeat. Stretches neck, shoulders, back, triceps

Watch video here.

4. Frog Pose

Frog Pose, called Mandukasana in Sanskrit, is a yoga pose that targets your core, hips, and inner thighs. This stretch directly target tights spots in the hips/groin. Start on all fours. Slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out and rest the inner edges of your feet flat on the floor. Shift your hips back toward your heels. Move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, if possible. Watch video here.

5. Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose or Baddha Konasana, is a hip opener. Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to sides. Hold onto your ankles or feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor. If you’re too tight to bend over, simply press your knees down. Watch video here.

6. Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor. Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more. Switch sides and repeat. Watch video here.

7. Tree Pose

Tree pose, also known as Vrikshasana or Vrksasana (from the Sanskrit words “vrksa” meaning “tree,” and “asana” meaning “pose”), is a standing pose in yoga that requires balance and coordination. Standing on one leg, raise the other leg and place your foot on the inside of your thigh. If you can’t get your leg that high, the place your foot against your calf. Avoid placing you foot in the knee area. Raise your arms above your head and bring your palms together, keeping your arm straight. Hold this pose for ten seconds and then slowly lower your arms and leg. Repeat standing on the other leg. Watch video here.

8. Fold Forwards

Uttanasana or standing forward fold helps stretch your back and feels great after a long 12-shift. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Once in this position slowly fold yourself forwards until you feel the stretch in your back. Don’t push yourself to go further forward just let your arms hang down in front of you and feel your back and legs stretching. Hold it for twenty to forty seconds and then slowly roll back up to standing. Watch video here.

9. The Plank

The plank or Phalakasana, in one static position works the entire body. It is also designed to help strengthen your core muscles. Lie on your front in the press up position, only have your forearms pressed flat on the floor. Lift your body off the floor and keeping it in a straight line, including your neck and head. Hold it for as long as you can and lower yourself back to the floor. Watch video here.

Travel nurses are truly the Heart of Go. Our team wants you feel and perform your very best. Take time to take care of yourself so you can give 100% to your patients and enjoy your free time. Ready to look for your next assignment? Click here for our latest openings.