These 5 simple yoga poses to do at work will help undo the negative effects sitting at a desk all day can have on your body, breath and mood.
While going to a yoga class a couple of times a week or more is a wonderful way to undo the stress of the workday, it’s also helpful to take the skills that you learn in yoga class to the office. These concepts are easy to implement and will help relieve tension throughout your day.
Take a Mini-Meditation Break –
Ideally stand up and walk for at least 2-3 minutes for every 20-30 minutes of sitting. It’s easy to set a timer on your smart phone or use http://e.ggtimer.com/20minutes to remind you when it’s time to move. You can think of this time as a moving meditation by bringing awareness to your breath and the way your body feels as you walk. If walking isn’t possible you can still take a mental break at your desk. Simply stop the tension of the moment by pausing and focusing on your breath. If you’re comfortable, close your eyes and listen to your breath. If you are still tense, try placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth as you exhale relaxing your jaw, face, neck and shoulders.
Mountain Pose –
All this yoga pose requires is for you to stand strong and tall. Focus on feeling the power of your legs and the length in your spine. With eyes open or closed take 6 to 10 deep breaths using your diaphragm (feel your abdomen expand on inhales and soften on exhales). Diaphragmatic breathing turns on the part of your nervous system that is responsible for relaxation. Recognize your own power and be confident in your ability to make good choices for your own wellbeing. Feel as strong and steady as a mountain, with the top of your head pointing toward the sky.
Wall Dog –
Since you can’t always get the privacy you would like at the office, traditional downward facing dog probably isn’t going to a be good choice while you’re at work. However, you can get similar effects by using other objects in your office as if they were the floor. In this case place your hands on the wall and walk them down while also moving your feet back. You should feel steady and supported. Spread your fingers wide apart and press the tips of your fingers and the heels of your hands evenly into the wall. Draw your upper arm bones into their sockets and lengthen your waist. Let your chest softly descend toward the floor.
Desk Dog –
Put both hands on the end of your desk and walk backward until you are folding forward at a little more than a 90 degree angle, softly bend your knees and lift your sitting bones upward, with your feet parallel and toes pointing toward the desk in front of you. Gradually straighten your arms and let your heart melt toward the floor. If you feel tension near your neck, move your hands wider apart and relax the top of your shoulders. Hold this position for 6 to 10 breaths.
Seated Twists –
You can hold onto your chair or another sturdy object such as your desk to help you gain leverage and twist. Inhale, lengthening your spine, then exhale as you turn your gaze and upper torso in one direction, hold this position and breathe in and out of your nose feeling your abdomen expand with each inhalation and contract with each exhalation. If you feel you can twist slightly deeper after a few breathes, gently rotate your spine and move deeper as you exhale. Slowly come back to center and repeat the twist in the other direction for the same number of breaths to create balance in the body and mind.
While reading this article is the first step, actually practicing the poses is what will allow you to experience the benefits. So go ahead and try these 5 simple yoga poses to do at work right now.
Yoga helps you enjoy your life more, both on and off the mat!
This post first appeared on Yoga Lagniappe.