7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

7 yoga poses for nurses

Every nurse knows that the stress from patient care over a 12 hour shift can be exponential.  Yet many nurses aren’t giving themselves the tender loving kindness we give to our patients!  (I have written many times before about why nurses need to practice yoga).

Yoga is more then just exercise.  It offers caregivers a way to give themselves more self care (ahem, nurses!).  Furthermore, it helps nurses take even better care of our families, our patients and ourselves in the process.

Restorative yoga is a great way for nurses to reconnect with themselves and provide recovery for their bodies after the end of a 12 hour shift of caring for patients.

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

(The information on this post is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and is meant for educational and informational purposes only.   You should always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.  You can read my disclosure policy here.)

Here are 7 easy and restorative yoga poses for nurses to help recover from the stress and physical ailments that plague hard working nurses.

#1.  Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Health benefits of Child’s Pose for nurses:

  • Releases tension in the back, shoulders and chest
  • Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Stretches the spine
  • Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles (gently is the key)
  • Stretches muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee
  • Calms the mind and body

#2.  Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Happy Baby Pose

Happy Baby Pose

Health benefits of Happy Baby Pose for nurses:

  • Opens hips, inner thighs, and groin
  • Releases lower back and sacrum
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Calms the brain
  • Helps to relieve stress and fatigue

#3.  Supine Spinal Twist(Jathara Parivartanasana)

Supine Spinal Twist

Supine Spinal Twist

Health benefits of Supine Spinal Twist for nurses:

  • Brings blood flow to the spine, hips and shoulders
  • Stretches the hips, glutes, abs, back, chest, shoulders and neck
  • Opens the upper body
  • Helps alleviate lower back pain
  • Helps correct poor posture

#4.  Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclined Goddess Pose

Reclined Goddess Pose

Health benefits of Reclined Goddess Pose for nurses:

  • Opens the shoulders & chest
  • Opens the groin, inner thighs, and hips
  • Helps relieve stress and anxiety

#6.  Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Health benefits of Legs Up The Wall Pose for nurses:

  • It reduces edema in the legs and feet
  • Relieves tired leg muscles
  • Helps reverse the effects of gravity and may help digestion
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Calms the mind

#7.  Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Supported Bridge Pose

Supported Bridge Pose

Benefits of Supported Bridge Pose for nurses:

  • Stretches and opens the chest, spine and hips
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps to relieve stress
  • Improves digestion and stimulates the abdominal organs.
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland
  • Reduces anxiety and fatigue
  • Helps relieve lower back pain
  • Calms the brain and nervous system

#8.  Dead Body Pose (Shavasana)

Dead Body Pose

Dead Body Pose

Benefits Of Dead Body Pose for nurses:

  • Relaxes the whole body
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Quiets the mind

In summary, yoga makes you feel good.  And you deserve it, nurse!

Nurses need to experience what it is like to fell good in our their own skin?  Yoga empowers nurses to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment by making us the best version of ourselves.

For better or worse, nurses serve as role models in the healthcare community. We need to practice what we preach. Why would a patient listen to our advice on how to life a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?

Here are a few tools to get you started in your yoga practice:

1.  Yoga Mat, by Yoga Nat

This is a great yoga mat.  The quality is very good for the price.  I have been using this exact one in my living room for the past two years and it is still looks new!  It is soft with a relatively nice thickness compared to other yoga mats I have tried.  In addition, it has grooves that keep the mat in place while in use.  It comes with a velcro carry strap for easy travel.

Yoga for nurses: yoga mat
Yoga for nurses: yoga mat

2.  Yoga Blocks

I love the cork Manduka yoga blocks because I have had mine for 6 years and they still look brand new.   Unlike foam blocks, these don’t disintegrate and tear over time due regular use.  They are also heavier and more sturdy with a trustworthy grip.  It is a good idea to purchase 2 because many yoga poses require the need for two blocks.

Yoga for nurses: yoga block
Yoga for nurses: cork yoga blocks

3.  Yoga Strap

Yoga straps are an easy way to inexpensively assist you into yoga poses.  This yoga strap is useful for all levels of yoga practice and can provide support, help with alignment and improve posture.

4.  Manduka yoga blocks (with strap included)

If you are going to purchase both cork blocks and the strap you can get a little bit of a discount by purchasing them as a bundle.

Yoga for nurses: yoga blocks and strap
Yoga for nurses: yoga blocks and strapHEY NURSES!  Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign up box below! (scroll down)

Additional Recommended Reading For Nurses Who Need More Self Care:

Are you a nurse looking for more self care?  What are you doing to take care of yourself?  Please leave a comment below!

Travel Nurses Need Yoga To Stay Healthy!

Travel Nurses Need Yoga To Stay Healthy!

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I absolutely LOVE yoga (its a little obsessive actually).

And as you also know, I really love to write about how to help nurses take better care of themselves.

Which is why I was so excited to write a guest post for a travel nursing blog titled 3 Very Important Reasons Why Travel Nurses Need Yoga.  (Please check it out here!).

Travel nurses have a lot on their plate!  They take travel assignments in cities where they’ve never even been and then work in different units with entirely new staff.   And then when they finally think they have everything figured out their assignment ends and they go someplace else!

On top of that they also have the physical and mental stress that comes with working 12 hours shifts.

Travel nurses need yoga.

By taking care of ourselves we are able to replenish our reserves and take better care of our patients and families.  There is an endless amount of studies on yoga and its amazing benefits on physical and mental health.

As nurses, we need to practice what we preach and help lead our patients by example.  Why should our patients take better care of themselves both physically and mentally if we are not doing it ourselves?

My Yoga Props Essentials:

Gaiam Yoga Mat 

I love this mat because it doesn’t get slippery once I start getting sweaty during a yoga practice.  It is a thicker, more durable mat with a great chakra design.

Yoga Blocks

Cork yoga blocks are the best.  I love these blocks because they are durable and have a really good grip.  They can assist with alignment and help you get deeper into many yoga poses.

Yoga Bolster

These are amazing for restorative chest opening poses!  I have 2 of these in blue and purple.  I use them all the time to help me wind down after nursing shifts.  I also love using the booster to put my hips and legs up the wall after being on my feet for a twelve hour shift!

Yoga For Nurses:  3 Crucial Reasons Nurses NEED Yoga

Yoga For Nurses: 3 Crucial Reasons Nurses NEED Yoga

This post contains affiliate links.  For more information, see my disclosures here.

Yoga for nurses:  we need to care for ourselves first.

Yoga’s amazing benefits for physical and mental health are well documented. The Mayo clinic has stated that “yoga helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate” among several other benefits.

Every nurse knows that the stress from patient care over a 12 hour shift can be exponential.  Yet many nurses aren’t giving themselves the tender loving kindness we give to our patients!  (I have written before about why nurses need to practice yoga if you are interested in reading).

Yoga is more then just exercise.  It offers caregivers a way to give themselves more self care (ahem, nurses).  It helps us take even better care of our families, our patients and ourselves.

Why Nurses Need Yoga And The Essential Props You Need To Start Your Practice- Mother Nurse Love

Why Nurses Need Yoga And The Essential Props You Need To Start Your Practice- Mother Nurse Love

1.  Stress management

Nurses have a high workload in many hospital wards. The stress is compounded by managing patient healthcare needs and treatments, daily occupational stressors and even the many frequent changes in technology.

A study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only 8 weeks of yoga the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better focus coping strategies and a major reduction in perceived mental pressure. If that is what can happen after only 8 weeks, imagine the impact a regular, permanent yoga practice could have on stress management levels.

2.  Prevent or eliminate chronic low back pain

Chronic back pain in the nursing population is a common ailment. An evidenced based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%. Fortunately, the review also presented an overwhelming amount of studies that found that regular yoga significantly reduced symptoms associated with chronic low back pain and greatly improved overall physicality.

Yoga stretching not only increases flexibly, but increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain. In a career as physically demanding as nursing, the more physically stable we are, the better care we can give to ourselves and our patients.

3.  Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue

Lack of self-care can easily result in burnout and compassion fatigue in the nursing profession. As much as I hate to admit it, even I have questioned how long I can continue with the immense workload and emotional drain that is required of me as a nurse. Thankfully, I have found a productive way to manage this is through yoga and meditation.   They help reignite my passion for encouraging others to take better care of themselves.

A study published in Workplace Health & Safety on yoga for self-care and burnout prevention of nurses found that yoga participants “reported significantly higher self-care as well as less emotional exhaustion upon completion of an 8-week yoga intervention.” While the control group demonstrated no change throughout the course of the study, the yoga group showed a significant improvement in scores for self-care, mindfulness, and emotional exhaustion outcomes.

My yoga prop essentials list to start your yoga journey:

I have practiced yoga pretty religiously for 12 years and have tried many different things along the way.  These are a few of the yoga props I use at the studio and at home that are good for anyone starting their yoga journey.

1.  Yoga Mat, by Yoga Nat

I love this yoga mat.   The quality is very good for the price.  It is soft with a relatively nice thickness compared to other yoga mats I have tried.  In addition, it has nice grooves that keep the mat in place.  A Velcro carry strap comes with the yoga mat to keep it rolled up nicely.

Yoga for nurses: yoga mat

Yoga for nurses: yoga mat

2.  Yoga Blocks

I love the cork Manduka yoga blocks because I have had mine for 6 years and they still look brand new!  Unlike foam blocks, these don’t disintegrate over time due to sweat and regular use.  They are also heavier and more sturdy with a trustworthy grip.  It is a good idea to purchase 2 because many yoga poses require the need for two blocks.

Yoga for nurses: yoga block

Yoga for nurses: yoga block

3.  Yoga Strap

This yoga strap is useful for all levels of yoga practice and can provide support, help with alignment and improve posture.  This one even comes with a DVD to show several ways you can use the strap.

Yoga for nurses: yoga strap

Yoga for nurses: yoga strap

4.  Manduka yoga blocks (with strap included)

If you are going to purchase both cork blocks and the strap you can get a little bit of a discount by purchasing them as a bundle.

Yoga for nurses: yoga blocks and strap

Yoga for nurses: yoga blocks and strap

Yoga makes you feel good!

Don’t we all want to feel good in our own skin?  Yoga empowers nurses to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment by making us the best version of ourselves.

For better or worse, nurses serve as role models in the healthcare community. We need to practice what we preach. Why would a patient listen to our advice on how to life a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?

Are you a busy nurse or mom who is interested in starting a yoga practice?  Do you already have a yoga practice?  What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear!

Happy yoga practicing!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Why Nurses Need To Practice Yoga:  Self Care For The Caregiver

Why Nurses Need To Practice Yoga: Self Care For The Caregiver

(This post may contain affiliate links.  My disclosure page is super boring but you can find it here.)

Many nurses are very good at encouraging patients to follow a regular exercise routine and at teaching ways to manage stress for optimal health. Taking their own advice about healthy lifestyle behaviors though, well, not so much.

As an emergency room nurse who has worked as a resource nurse on various units all over the hospital, I see first hand the outstanding care that is being given to our patients. The nurses I work with bend over backwards.  At times they even risk their own health and safety to care for total strangers.

The work can be back-breaking, literally. Most days are very physically demanding with little rest. Over time, the work is depleting to an RN.  Sometimes even resulting in permanent injuries (hello, chronic back pain!), extreme burnout or even depression.

How much work does it take to be a nurse?

Being a nurse in the hospital demands a lot on the body. The job often requires moving non-stop for grueling 12 hours shifts (or longer).  It can include lifting and turning patients several times throughout the day. In addition to physical stress, nurses are often multitasking multiple patients with unique medical issues and making clinical decisions in potentially life-threatening situations.

Nurse praticing yoga.

Yoga can help nurses take better care of themselves.

To say that being a nurse causes wear-and-tear on the body is an understatement. As a result of years of heavy lifting many RN’s are suffering from chronic back problems. I know several who have had to go out on disability and sadly still suffer from permanent chronic back pain.

In nursing school we are taught “proper body mechanics” that are supposed to prevent back injuries while moving, lifting or turning patients. Recently however, there is new evidence suggesting that their really is no safe way for nurses to lift patients.

In addition, being a nurse often requires walking up to 15,000 steps or more in a single shift. A study found in the National Library of Medicine reported that many nurses walk up to five miles in an average 10 hour shift. However, in the Emergency Room and on many other units, I would argue that we actually walk much more then that. In fact, I wear a pedometer at work and I have logged up to 35,000 or more steps in a single day. That is the equivalent of walking 14 miles in a single shift!

The emotional and physiological drain of being a nurse can be overwhelming.

Being in the hospital is stressful. As a result, sometimes patients or families take their stress out on the people they are in contact with the most: the nurses. Yet it is our job to remain compassionate and continue to advocate for our patients in spite of this.

Burnout in the profession is common. Even I have questioned my decision to become a nurse for this reason on a few different occasions. I’ve tried to explain to friends and family how incredibly complex and stressful being a registered nurse can be. I think it is just one of those things that you really can’t understand unless you experience it for yourself.

All venting aside, I’m not going to run off and chance careers, or encourage anyone from not becoming a registered nurse. I derive an immense amount of pride and passion for what I do.  I also enjoy working with intelligent people who have the same drive for helping people that I do.

It is, however, not a career for wimps.

Nurses need to practice yoga.

Nurse practicing yoga

There are so many physical and mental benefits to practicing yoga regularly.

Nurses need to make self-care a priority. Not only does self-care result in better overall patient care, but ultimately it replenishes our depleted reserves.  Yoga helps us take better care of ourselves and our families.

There is an endless amount of studies on yoga and its amazing benefits on physical and mental health. The Mayo clinic has stated that “yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate” among many other benefits.

For the purpose of this article I am focusing on three of the biggest nurse health related issues. But don’t be mistaken, there several more benefits then I am not mentioning here.

Benefits of yoga for nurses:

Stress management

As I mentioned earlier, nurses have a high workload in many hospital wards. The stress is compounded by managing patient healthcare needs and treatments, daily occupational stressors and even the many frequent changes in technology.

A study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only 8 weeks of yoga the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better focus coping strategies and a major reduction in perceived mental pressure. If that is what can happen after only 8 weeks, imagine the impact a regular, permanent yoga practice could have on stress management levels.

Prevent or eliminate chronic low back pain

Chronic back pain in the nursing population is a common ailment. An evidenced based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%. Fortunately, the review also presented an overwhelming amount of studies that found that regular yoga significantly reduced symptoms associated with chronic low back pain and greatly improved overall physicality.

Yoga stretching not only increases flexibly, but increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain. In a career as physically demanding as nursing, the more physically stable we are, the better care we can give to ourselves and our patients.

Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue

Nurses practicing yoga

Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program training at UCLA Medical Center. Nurses are learning how to integrate holistic healthcare like yoga with traditional medicine.

Lack of self-care can easily result in burnout and compassion fatigue in the nursing profession. As much as I hate to admit it, even I have questioned how long I can continue with the immense workload and emotional drain that is required of me as a nurse. Thankfully, I have found a productive way to manage this is through yoga and meditation.

A study published in Workplace Health & Safety on yoga for self-care and burnout prevention of nurses found that yoga participants “reported significantly higher self-care as well as less emotional exhaustion upon completion of an 8-week yoga intervention.” While the control group demonstrated no change throughout the course of the study, the yoga group showed a significant improvement in scores for self-care, mindfulness, and emotional exhaustion outcomes.

Yoga is good for you!

Yoga is a productive way to prevent some of the most common health ailments among nurses. Empowering nurses in self-care helps to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment.

For better or worse, nurses serve as role models in the healthcare community. We need to practice what we preach. Why would a patient listen to our advice on how to life a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Additional reading:

Recommended Reading

8 Ways Nurses Can Stay Healthy

Pregnant Nurse Precautions To Consider At Work

3 Crucial Reasons Nurse Need Yoga