If you spend your work days slouched at a desk, you need these yoga poses.
Sitting is the new smoking. Recent studies have shown that people who are more sedentary for the majority of their working hours can increase their risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (much like smoking does). Not to mention the strain and extra tension created in your back and neck from all that sitting!
Unfortunately for most of us, quitting the desk job just isn’t an option. But that’s where yoga comes in. Did you know there are certain poses you can do at the office? Here are five desk yoga poses you can practice throughout your workday.
By Ashley Stern
1. Seated Twist
This pose is a great way to start your desk yoga sesh. Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Place your right hand on the left armrest (or seat) of your chair, sit up straight and look over your left shoulder.
With each inhale sit up a little taller. With each exhale, go deeper into the twist if it feels safe (but no need to force yourself beyond your limit). Hold the position for a few breaths, then repeat on the opposite side. This pose will help remind you of your posture and is an inconspicuous way to move around a bit.
2. Mountain Pose
This pose is a great way to inconspicuously sneak a bit of yoga into your day. Whether you stand at your desk, in your cubicle, or even in the break room, nobody will notice you’re actually doing yoga! Keep all four corners of your feet planted on the floor and your hands at your sides as you stand tall with the crown of your head reaching skyward.
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable and focus on your breath. Let yourself become aware of your own body and your breathing – this is a great way to create peace in your hectic workday and also bring more awareness to your posture. Hold the position for as few or as many breaths as you like (or have time for).
3. Half Lotus
Sitting in your chair at your desk, gently draw your left ankle into your right hip crease. This is a deeper hip opener so work up to it if it’s not quite available to you. Keep your left foot flexed and relax the left knee. If this is too intense for you, just relax the bottom of the left foot on the inside of the right thigh.
Stay here for five deep breaths and then switch sides. This hip opener is a great way to counteract the tension and tightness that builds up in the hip joints after long periods of time sitting – the perfect desk yoga pose!
4. Eagle Pose (Legs Optional):
Doing just the Eagle arms is a discreetly modified version that can be done seated to stretch your upper back and shoulders. Sitting (or standing) upright with your feet planted firmly on the ground, cross your right arm over your left, bend your elbows and bring your palms to touch in front of your face.
Raise your arms in front of your face to feel a stretch in your shoulders. Repeat the pose with your left arm over your right (and left leg over your right if you include the legs). Repeat on side two, remember to breathe and enjoy this delicious shoulder opener!
5. Forward Fold
Forward Fold is a simple yet amazingly effective pose to counteract all the negative effects of sitting long term. If you can, stand up at your desk and hold onto the edge with both hands shoulder distance apart. Gently let your chest hang parallel towards the floor and enjoy that stretch into your arms, shoulders and chest. When you’re ready, release the hands and fold forward.
Don’t want to get up from your chair? Stay seated and spread your knees a bit wider than hip-distance apart. From there, fold your torso forward towards the floor (maybe your hands touch down, otherwise let them hang or grab your calves/ankles).
Whichever variation you choose, let your head hang heavy (releasing tension in the head and neck) and enjoy the fresh blood flow to the brain – you will feel energized and refreshed after hanging here for several breaths.
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All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com