In honor of National Nurses Week, MGA Home Healthcare is sharing five basic yoga poses that benefit a wide range of physical, mental and emotional challenges nurses face each day.

Read our tips from Meghan Skovran, Certified Yoga Instructor, RN and MGA Denver Director of Nursing, below and be sure to share this post with another nursing professional you know this #NursesWeek.

An appropriately named pose for our nurses – the true heroes on the front lines of healthcare. Warrior-I encourages you to open your heart and lift your chest – a powerful stance for inner strength and courage. Practice mind-body awareness with an energetic lift of the upper body that stretches and strengthens the chest, lungs, shoulders, back muscles, thighs, calves and ankles.

Added end-of-shift benefit: It’s not news that nurses spend a good amount of time on their feet. Beyond the right pair of shoes, Warrior-I pose encourages good circulation and respiration.

Step-by-step instructions, modifications and cautions

Interruptions and distractions, whether professional or personal, are not uncommon on the job. As a nurse, you can improve patient safety by practicing mindfulness. Lord of the Dance pose (better known as Dancer pose) invites you to let go of repressed emotion and calm the mind. While practicing this pose, work to center yourself and your energy by focusing on a single object. Enjoy physical benefits that strengthen your legs and ankles while stretching your shoulders, chest, thighs and abdomen.

Added end-of-shift benefit: Not all days go according to plan. Unexpected challenges are bound to arise when it comes to patient care. This pose can be a rewarding one, although difficult to hold at times. Learning to flow with the fluctuations of Dancer pose can be an applicable lesson to your career and life.

Step-by-step instructions, modifications and cautions

Concentration on the job can be difficult when you are experiencing physical discomfort – especially when you are expected to perform on your feet. Downward-facing dog is one of the most widely recognized yoga poses – for good reason. This all-over, re-energizing stretch of the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arms, hands and legs has been known to relieve menstrual discomfort, headache, fatigue, insomnia, back pain and provide relief for flat feet.

Added end-of-shift benefit: Boost your mood with this inverted pose that brings the head below the heart. Going upside down can relieve stress and mild depression while helping you see the world in a different way.

Step-by-step instructions, modifications and cautions

According to the American Nurses Association, nursing personnel are among the highest at risk for musculoskeletal disorders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists RNs sixth in a list of at-risk occupations for strains and sprains ahead of truck drivers and laborers. Practicing Standing Forward Bend will help to keep your spine strong and flexible while releasing tension in the neck and back.

Added end-of-shift benefit: Imagining your worries and concerns are falling from the crown of your head to the floor during this inverted pose will help to relieve work week stress and anxiety.

Step-by-step instructions, modifications and cautions

Just as nurses are the heart of healthcare, your core is the central link connecting your lower and upper body. Although less obvious than physical activities – lifting, twisting, reaching, bending, standing and even sitting are all everyday, on-the-job positions and movements that rely on core muscles. Practicing plank pose will help to tone all of the core muscles of your body – including your abdomen, chest and lower back – preventing injury.

Added end-of-shift benefit: You’ll be happier and less stressed. Like most exercises, plank pose boosts energy levels and raises spirits. Plank exercises are a handy tool for stress reduction, as they are known to help calm the brain.

Step-by-step instructions, modifications and cautions

All photos credit of Meghan Skovran and Sumits Yoga