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.
Yoga can be an amazing way to stay fit. Even if you only practice for 5 minutes a day standing beside your desk you will be able to see the results. The key is to practice regularly.
Face it, sitting at your desk all day can get mighty uncomfortable, and there’s nothing you’d rather do than taking 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.
Below are office yoga exercises you can do right at your desk without getting weird looks from your co-workers.
First is a chest expansion exercise. Duration: two minutes.
Stand straight with your heels placed together. Slowly bring both arms up and straight ahead of you with the palms turned outward. Stretch your arms so you can feel the motion. Now bring your arms straight back and upward as high as you can. Slowly bend backward at the waist, keeping the position with your knees unbent and your head back. Hold this pose for five slow seconds. Now bend as far forward as you can while still holding your arms high. Keep your head down with your neck relaxed. Stay in this position for ten slow seconds. Then straighten up. This routine helps the spine, shoulders, and elbows.
Video: 5-Minute Break – Office Yoga
Duration: 2 minutes. Simply sit at your desk, place your elbows close together, put your head between your hands while covering your ears and close your eyes. Clasp your hands at the back of your head and slowly push your head forward until the chin touches your chest. Then, keeping your arms still, turn your head to your left and rest your chin in the left hand and grip the back of your head with the right hand. Turn your head slowly as far to the left as you can. Hold the position for several seconds and don’t move your arms. Then repeat the exercise by turning to the right. If you try all of these wonderful yoga exercises just a couple of times a week, or better yet once a day, you’ll notice your health and well-being will improve.
Duration: 1 minute. The backstretch should only take you one minute. Sit on your desk chair’s edge and extend your legs outwards. Next bend forward and hold the upper calves firmly. Then bend your elbows outward. Pull your trunk down and relax all of the muscles, including your neck and let your head hang down. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds. Then straighten up slowly, rest for a minute and repeat once more.
If you perform this set of office yoga exercises you should start to feel a heightened physical and mental energy shortly after the end of your exercise routine.
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.
You can enhance your yoga program with meditation also. There are several types of easy meditation for the beginner that can be done in the office. It can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any extra equipment. You simply have to find quiet space and time where no one will bother you. This meditation requires you to count your breath. By fixing your attention on your breathing you can begin to relax, stay mindful and let the stress melt away. This calming breathing technique, practiced for even 5 minutes a day, can help you reduce the amount of stress and help you stay focused on the tasks ahead.
If you practice any of these office yoga exercises and meditation regularly, you should see great improvements in your overall physical health and well-being in no time.