Afternoon slump? Stressed over your workload? Need ways to de-stress or refocus after juggling work or online learning assistance with your kids?
According to yoga therapist Judi Bar, it only takes a few minutes to reduce stress and refresh your mind by doing yoga exactly where you’re reading this now. In your chair, at your desk – wherever that may be.
And it’s really good for you. “Stress can make you sick,” she says. “Yoga can help you get through an over-scheduled or stressful day by lowering your blood pressure, increasing serotonin and decreasing cortisol. Yoga also helps you focus and release tension in your body.”
Try these 12 poses at your desk to help you power through with better health outcomes for yourself, your work and your family.
1. Neck Circles
Alignment Points: Imagine a clock right in front of you, and circle your nose around the clock. Breathe slowly, easy in and out. Reverse directions. If you feel any pain, stop!
Benefits of Pose: Softens and loosens neck muscles. Links movement to breath.
2. Fan Pose
Alignment Points: Sit tall at the front edge of your chair with your feet set firmly on the floor. Make sure your back is off the chair. Watch to make sure your spine is lengthened. Your heart is at center with your chin moving forward. Pull your shoulder blades back. If your shoulders are tight or there is pain, keep your arms low on the chair. Take deep breaths here for at least 3 to 5 breaths.
Benefits of Pose: This simple pose works as a heart opener. Stimulates immune system. Opens upper respiratory muscles. Stretches shoulders and arms. Increases awareness of the action of the shoulder blades. Aids in relaxation which can help with digestion. Stretches your belly. Relaxes your mind.
3. Cat Curls and Cow in Chair (or on Floor)
Alignment Points: See video for chair option. For floor option, go to your hands and knees to create a tabletop position. Keeping your back lengthened, align your knees directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows and shoulders stacked above each other. Look at the floor. For cat pose, exhale, round your spine toward the ceiling and release your head and pelvic towards floor. For cow pose, inhale, reverse the curve on your spine till belly points to floor, lifting your head and pelvis up to sky. Repeat at least 3 times.
While doing cow pose, make sure that your chin is not jutting forward to avoid compressing your cervical spine.
Benefits of Pose: Softens and lubricates the spine and muscles. Creates space between vertebrae and increases circulation. Stretches secondary respiratory muscles to help aid in better breathing.
4. Shoulder Rolls
Alignment Points: Make sure your back is off of the chair. If you have a block to rest behind the chair at your lower back, this can help you support a tall spine. Draw circles with your elbows in both directions. Breathe with each movement.
Benefits of Pose: Softens and loosens shoulder girdle muscles. Links your breath to movement. Warms up the synovial fluid within the shoulder. Helps to release tension.
5. Seated Side Bend
Alignment Points: Make sure your back is off of the chair. Sit tall and place one hand firmly into the seat of the chair for stability. Lift your opposite arm up and over, keeping that arm’s shoulder in line with the other. Watch to make sure there is no sinking in your arm or spine. Breathe in and out at least 3 times on each side.
Benefits of Pose: Aids your breathing. Stretches your rib cage and lengthens the side of your body