If you’re a slave to your desk, clicking your mouse, staring at your computer screen, and sitting for long periods of time, then you need some relief for the tension and stress you’re building up in your shoulders, neck and back.
Most likely, when you get up to fill your coffee cup, your back, neck and shoulders feel stiff and sore, and you’d rather take a walk around the block and get some fresh air than head back to the same old desk to get more of the same old upper body discomfort.
A little office yoga may be just what the doctor ordered. Face it, sitting at your desk all day can get mighty uncomfortable, and there’s nothing you’d rather do than take to your yoga mat and do downward facing dog in the middle of the day. But, while you’re stuck in an office that may not be an option, and so you live with the pain and suffer along until you can do something about it. Sometimes waiting may be the worst thing. You need to move around when you work at a desk all day to instill more balance in your workday and to ward off more serious health problems. Here are some recommended office yoga poses that you can do right at your desk:
Sit upright in your chair and don’t slouch. Inhale, and lift your right shoulder to your ear. Exhale, and slowly roll your shoulder around and back, dropping it away from your ear. Repeat on the left shoulder. Do these three more times on both sides. Then, inhale and lift both shoulders to the ears, hold, exhale and release.
Sit upright without letting your back touch the back of the chair. Your head should be aligned directly over your spine and the crown of your head should be lifted. If you need more stability, you can hold onto the side of the chair with your left hand. Inhale, then exhale and drop your right ear to the right shoulder. Be careful not to turn your head or lift your shoulder. Take several breaths and feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. For a deeper stretch, place your right hand over the left side of your head and gently pull your neck away from the shoulders. Hold this pose for five breaths. Repeat on the other side. This pose lengthens and stretches the neck, and creates space between the vertebrae in the cervical spine.
Sit on the edge of your chair, with your left side body facing the back of the chair. Keep your knees and feet together. Place your hands on the back of the chair, elbows extending out to the side. Inhale, straighten your spine, and twist toward the back of the chair from the bottom of your spine. Push with your left hand and pull with your right. Breathe deeply, then release and switch sides. Twists are perfect for unlocking tension from sitting for long periods, especially at a desk!
Stand and clasp your hands behind you. If you can’t clasp your hands together, hold on to a scarf or a belt. Lift your arms as high as you can, and lift your sternum. Hold this pose for 30 to 45 seconds and then relax.
Do these office yoga poses everyday and you’ll fee a hundred percent better!
Caryn Kelly is a longtime yoga practitioner and instructor of basic hatha and restorative yoga in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit her blog at http://myyogamylife.com.