Yoga is not only for the body, but also the mind, and can be a wonderful way to press your “reset” button during a long day of work. Yoga can reduce stress, increase productivity, while also increasing flexibility and strength. Sitting for long periods of time can cause spinal compression, resulting in back pain. Prolonged sitting can also cause misalignment in the hips, which can also contribute to back pain, knee pain, and even shoulder pain. You can help counteract the symptoms that can arise from sitting too long, by taking some time to bring movement into your day. In just 10 minutes or less, you can reset your mind and body by doing some simple movements right at your desk. DoYouYoga has a few suggestions for modified yoga poses to try during your workday:
Seated Crescent Moon:
- Lift arms overhead, arms close to the ears; you can interlace your fingers or keep palms apart and facing each other.
- Lean to the right and take 2-3 deep breaths, come back up to a neutral position and repeat on the left side. (if you cannot take a deep breath, you may need to back out of the side stretch a little bit, until you can take a good, deep breath)
Wrist and Finger Stretches
- Hold arms out in front of you, horizontal to the ground
- Make a tight fist, followed by opening the hands and extending the fingers out wide, repeat 5 times.
- Next, hold out your right arm, fingers facing down toward the floor. Using your left hand, give a gentle push on the palm of the right hand, towards your forearm. Hold for 2-3 breaths, then repeat on the other arm/hand.
Chair Pose (*can use chair for support)
- Start standing with your feet hip’s distance apart, feet should be firmly planted on the ground and arms down by your side.
- Start shifting your weight into your heels, pressing hips down and back and raise arms to be horizontal to the floor at the same time. Be aware that your knees do not go over the toes as you sit back into your imaginary or real chair (if knees go past toes this can cause pain/injury). Hold for a breath.
- Return to standing, hands down by your side. Repeat 5-10 times.
Seated Pigeon Pose
- While seated in your chair, place both feet flat on the floor, then cross the right over left (right ankle will be resting over the left knee). Keep the right foot flexed, sit up tall, allow shoulders to relax down and back, and keep equal pressure on the sit bones. Take 5 deep breaths here, then repeat on the other side.
- Place your hands about shoulder distance apart on the edge of your desk (or other sturdy furniture, at about hip height).
- Step both feet back so that you form a diagonal line with the floor.
- As you inhale, bend the arms to 90 degrees, keeping the elbows in, close against the chest/ribs.
- Exhale and extend arms, pressing yourself back up into your diagonal position. Repeat 5 times, moving with the breath each time.
Desk Up/Down Dog
- Using the same initial setup from your Desk Chaturanga, lower your hips toward the desk, keeping arms straight, opening the chest, keep the legs active (this will help keep your lower back safe). Gently lift the chin upwards, while sliding the shoulder blades down and back here. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
- Keeping feet and hands in place, now push the hips back, and return to your diagonal position. Tilt the chin back down slightly to achieve a neutral spine here, keep the arms straight, and engage the core. Take 5 deep breaths here. Repeat 3-5 times.
Before returning to work, take a moment to be quiet, present, and just breathe. Find a comfortable seated position, even closing your eyes if you like. Take 5 deep inhales through the nose and 5 long exhales out of the mouth. Once you complete your breathing, if your eyes were closed, slowly open them.
Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more relaxed and can take this feeling with you throughout the rest of your day. Even if you feel like you don’t have time to do the movements, at least take the time to sit quietly and do some mindful breathing; it can be very relaxing.