Whoops. You just looked at the clock and realized you’ve been sitting at your desk for nearly 4 hours without so much as a bathroom break. As more and more sources report that a sedentary lifestyle can be a detriment to your heart, weight and brain, it’s vital that you break up your seated, inactive periods at the office with movement. And what better way to move than with a restorative yoga session?
Sure, you could hit the gym on your lunch break and put in a few miles on the bike, but why not keep it corporate and add in some OMs at your desk? With the help of our friend and fellow yogi, Tiffany Goins, we’ve put together some simple, office-friendly yoga poses that won’t ruin your productivity or your hair. Let’s get bendy!
1. High Altar Pose
Slouching in your chair can create some discomfort in your back and shoulders. To release tension and give your spine a nice little stretch, interweave your fingers together and press your palms, face up, towards the ceiling. Lean to your right, hold, and take around 5-8 full deep breaths. Lean to the left and repeat.
2. Seated Backbend
Take another break from slouching over your computer with more backbending. An effective, careful bend will lengthen your spine, increase blood flow, stretch your chest and counteract slumped shoulders. Raise your hands up towards the ceiling with your palms facing one another. Slowly look up at your hands and try to bring your gaze to the wall behind you while bending slightly from your upper back. Hold for 5-8 full deep breaths before slowly releasing.
Lengthen your spine with a twist. Sit upright in your chair and gently twist to your right, placing your hands on the arm of the chair. To deepen the stretch a bit more, try moving your right hand to the back of your chair. Hold like this for 5-8 full breaths. Repeat on left side.
4. Seated Pigeon
Long bouts of chair sitting can put your hips in a tight spot. Engage in a feel-good hip opener with a seated pigeon pose. Position your right foot on your left knee and allow the right knee to drop open. Hold for about 5-8 full breaths before switching sides.
5. Scale Pose
Has your tush ever fallen asleep after sitting for too long? Give your gluteus maximus some air time with the scale pose. Simply press your palms into the arms of your chair and raise yourself up. Try to stay suspended for 5-8 full breaths before slowly lowering yourself down into your seat.
6. Forward Fold
A seated forward fold will stretch out those tight hamstrings of yours and release your hips. Since your head is below your heart, blood can rush to your head and give your cells a fresh boost of oxygen. Start by sitting near the edge of your chair. Place your feet together, inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and hinge from your hips, round your back slowly and gently let your chest fall to your knees. Allow your hands to touch the floor for support and breath deeply for 5-8 breaths.
7. Wrist Stretch
The rigor of ceaseless typing on your computer is underestimated. If your fingers tend to cramp up and you suffer from wrist pain, try incorporating this wrist stretch into your regular routine. Stretch your right arm out in front of you, palm facing up, so that it’s parallel to the floor. With your left hand, gently grasp the fingers of your right hand and slowly press them towards the floor, holding for 5-8 full breaths. Gently release your fingers and do the same for your left hand.
A daily bombardment of emails and phone calls can leave your head a loud, jumbled mess of to-dos and deadlines. Take 10-20 minutes in “corpse pose” to quiet and clear your mind. Find a dark, quiet space in your office and lie face-up on your yoga mat. Set your phone timer and let your arms and legs gently fall to the mat, loose and heavy. Close your eyes and take deep breaths through your nose while you scan your body head to toe for areas of tension. Allow your body to melt into the floor and feel yourself rise and fall with each breath. When your phone timer sounds, slowly awaken your body and deepen your breath before gently rising from Savasana.
Experts recommend office workers get up and move every thirty minutes or so to stretch and get their blood flowing. Turn your office into your very own, personal yoga studio and sprinkle these easy poses into your workday routine to prevent long-term health issues.