Are you stuck at your desk or limited to your cubicle for hours at a time? This sedentary office routine can lead to muscle tension, poor circulation, even shortening and contracting muscles. Office Yoga can help relieve that stress and tension and improve your circulation and your health.
There are many stretches and Office Yoga postures or asanas, here are three chair poses that can be done at your desk to help you power through your workday:
1. Seated Spinal Twist
The spinal twist will release tension through your back, neck, and arms. Sit upright in your chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Inhale deeply, as you exhale bring your right hand to the outside of your left knee and rotate into a twist. Bring your left hand behind your back. Now look over your left shoulder and hold this position for several deep breaths, move deeper into the twist each time you exhale. Once complete, release, and repeat in the opposite direction. Spinal twists relieve tension, stretch muscle and help hydrate your intervertebral spinal discs.
According to Hindu mythology, this pose was originated by a yogi who spent 12 years in the belly of a fish, eavesdropping on Shiva’s secret yoga instructions in an ocean cave. All you have to do is sit on a mat.
- Step 1: Sit on heels. Sit on your heels with your back straight.
- Step 2: Shift butt. Shift your butt to the left, keeping your knees bent, so you’re seated on the mat just to the left of your feet.
- Step 3: Raise left knee. Raise your left knee up so your right foot is flat on the floor, and slide it to the outside of your left knee. If this position is difficult, extend your left leg so that it is straight out in front of you rather than bent to the right.
- Step 4: Twist torso. Twist your torso to the right, placing your right hand, palm-down, on the mat close behind your right hip. Make sure your hand is not far away from your body, as this will make you lean back. Your spine should be as upright and erect as possible.
- Step 5: Raise left arm. While still twisted, raise your left arm straight up.
- Step 6: Lower left arm. Lower your left arm so the elbow is on the outside of the right knee, keeping your elbow bent up or reaching down to hold your right ankle.
- Step 7: Turn body. Turn as far as you can without causing unwanted stress in the knees, spine, neck and shoulders. Look into the twist, but make sure your neck does not begin to tighten up.
- Step 8: Hold pose. Hold the pose for at least 5 smooth and even breaths.
- Step 9: Release pose. Release the pose by removing your left elbow from your right knee and releasing your twist.
- Step 10: Repeat on left side. Repeat on the left side, sitting just to the right of your feet and moving your left foot to the outside of your right knee, holding the pose for the same number of breaths as you did on the right side.
- Step 11: Release pose. Release the pose by removing your right elbow from your left knee and releasing your twist. Wasn’t that easier than holing up in a fish belly?
2. Elongated Back Stretch
Start by pushing your chair away from your desk. Take long, slow, deep breaths through your nose, inhale and exhale as you raise your arms over your head for a slow count of five. Lean forward from the hips and place your hands, palms down and shoulder-width apart on the top of your desk. Slowly exhale and lower yourself into the stretch. Stretch as far as comfortable and hold this posture for five complete breaths. Relax and repeat at two more times. Once complete, sit up slowly feeling the elongation of your spine and the absence of tension in your back.
3. Seated Hip Stretch
Stretching and releasing tension in your pelvis and hips will help release the tension and pain in your lower back. Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take three to five long, slow and deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling for five counts each. Now place your right foot on top of your left knee and bend forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back, across your hips and into your hamstrings, the muscles on the backs of your thighs. Do not force the stretch or overstretch and only go forward as far as your body will allow. Hold for a minimum of thirty seconds and repeat with the opposite knee.
These simple office yoga poses can help reduce stress and relieve back pain caused by tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper arms. A few brief moments of seated Yoga break will help to release tension that has accumulated over the past several hours at your desk. The tension and contractions created by long hours at your desk performing repetitive movements like typing on your keyboard can be released by regular seated Office Yoga.