4 Easy Yoga Poses to Do at Your Desk
“Sitting is the new smoking,” as the saying goes.
Undo some of the damage with a few easy stretches you can do right at your desk.
Here are a few ideas to get you started—no yoga mat required.
- Take a breath, plant your feet on the floor and sit up straight.
- As you inhale, raise your arms to your sides.
- Cross one arm over the other and give yourself a big hug on the shoulders. Your elbows should be stacked.
- Bend your arms 90 degrees. This will put your hands in front of your face.
- If you can, connect your palms. If they don’t reach, connect the backs of your hands.
- Drop those shoulders. Press your palms together and very gently raise your fingertips higher.
- Hold for five breaths (count them out) and switch sides.
Gentle Neck Stretch
When your job is literally a pain in the neck, get a fresh perspective with a tilt of the head. Don’t crank on your neck or attempt to move it in full circles. Take an easy, gentle approach.
- Sit up straight, feet on the floor, and take a breath.
- Interlace your fingers behind your lower back.
- As you inhale, extend your arms behind your back.
- Exhaling, move your knuckles to the left side of your torso. Take them as far to the side as feels comfortable.
- Squeeze your left elbow in toward your body, and drop your head towards your left shoulder.
- Neck stays long and your head stays centered (definitely don’t drop it back).
- Stay there for five breaths (remember to count) and switch sides.
Seated Hip Opener
Sitting at a desk all day is a great way to tighten your hips, which directly affect your low back. Create some space with this subtle-but-energizing pose:
- Sit tall, with both feet on the floor.
- Now put your right ankle on top of your left knee. Flex your right foot as if you were pressing it firmly against a wall.
- Before you move any farther, inhale and feel your spine lengthen.
- As you exhale, fold forward from your hips with a straight back.
- How far you move is up to you. Look for a stretching sensation—never pain.
- Hold the pose for five breaths, then sit up straight and switch sides.
Are your thoughts all tangled up with to-do lists, deadlines and interruptions? Hit the re-set button with this deceptively simple move:
- Plant both feet on the floor as you sit up tall and inhale.
- As you exhale, twist to the right.
- Take hold of the chair’s armrest or chair back, being sure to keep both hips evenly grounded.
- It helps to think about moving from your belly with a straight spine; avoid cranking on your shoulders/upper back.
- Keep your knees even; neither should extend beyond the other.
- When you’ve twisted as deeply as you can, turn your head to gaze over your right shoulder.
- Stay in the twist for five more breaths, then come back to center and switch sides.
You know you it’s a good idea to stretch, but will you really do it? Try this: Book five minutes in Outlook (or whatever calendar software you use) to help yourself commit. Start with just one of these stretches a day, and work up to four.
Any of these poses—whether you do just one or all four—will provide an energy boost and a tiny dose of tranquility in the midst of a desk bound day.
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