You know that awful upper-back tightness that comes with hunching over your work desk all day? Well, fitness guru Shona Vertue is about to help you with that. The Australia-based trainer, former gymnast, and self-proclaimed "badass with a good ass" has a 15-minute yoga and mobility sequence that combines passive stretches with active movement, focusing on the mobility of your posterior chain (the muscles on the backside of your body). If you and your body are experiencing work-from-home fatigue right now, this is the perfect exercise sequence for a midday pick-me-up.
Mobility training is known to help improve posture, joint health, and injury prevention because it releases tension while working on your ability to move through a full range of motion. Shona's 15-minute sequence emphasizes the anatomical side of yoga, making it surprisingly meditative.
As she walks you through positions, she describes every tiny movement in great detail, sometimes getting rid of the official yoga pose names altogether to make sure each motion is precise and intentional. And honestly, listening to her speak is a meditation in and of itself. For instance, instead of using the terms "cat" and "cow," she tells you to "get saggy" and "push away," then repeats the words "retraction" and "protraction" over and over until your mind and your body become one . . . it's magical.
In this video, Shona uses two yoga blocks and suggests finding a quiet, distraction-free space. If you don't have yoga blocks, don't worry. A firm pillow is a great yoga-block substitute, and if you're down for a deeper stretch, you can use a stack of books underneath a blanket (my personal favorite).