Sitting does a lot of damage to our bodies. It causes neck, shoulder and back tension, lowers our energy level and raises our risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
We know how busy you are, so here are three stretches that we recommend you do at your desk on a daily basis, or at least a few times each week.
The idea is to keep it simple. Yoga is portable and can be done just about anywhere. As with most things in life, prevention is key.
(1) 3 Breaths with Arms (Standing)
Improves posture, increases energy, decreases stress, increases circulation and blood flow to heart and lungs, decreases tension in chest, arms, neck, shoulders and back, reduces fatigue and more.
- Step 1: Stand in Mountain Pose with your feet hip distance apart, feet parallel to each other. Stand away from your chair and desk. Contract your abdominal muscles, lift your chest up and relax your shoulders back and down. Be tall and lifted. Turn your palms to face forward, drawing your shoulders back a bit more. Close your eyes.
- Step 2: Exhale your breath all the way out. As you inhale, sweep your arms up toward the sky. Lengthen your spine and ribcage. Look up if it’s okay for your neck. Keep your abdominals contracted, tailbone tucked slightly. Continue to sweep your arms up until palms are touching. As you exhale, turn your palms down and bring your arms back down by your sides, turning your eyes forward again.
- Step 3: Repeat 3-5 times. When you are finished, stand in Mountain Pose for a moment, take a few breaths, then open your eyes and return to work.
(2) Seated Hip Stretch
Releases tension in hips, buttocks and legs, increases circulation to lower body, including hips, thighs and buttocks, provides a deep stretch to hips, improves sex drive and fertility (in women) and more.
- Step 1: Sit slightly forward on your chair, legs at a 90° angle, feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles, roll your shoulders back and down, and lift your chest up.
- Step 2: Place your right ankle on top of your left knee and let your right knee relax out to the side.
- Step 3: As you inhale, sit up tall and as you exhale press your heart forward. Continue to inhale as you lengthen, and exhale to move deeper into the stretch. Keep your back flat and spine lengthened as you move deeper. You should feel a deep stretch in your right hip and buttock.
- Step 4: Stay for 3-5 breaths. To come out, inhale and sit up straight up again, then release your right foot back to the floor as you exhale.
- Step 5: Repeat on the other side. Then sit quietly with eyes closed for a moment and breath normally before returning to work.
(3) Chest Opener
Stretches and opens the chest, relieves tension and tightness in the back muscles, stretches the throat, jaw and facial muscles, facilitates deeper breathing, can reduce severity of headaches, relieves overall stress and tension.
- Step 1: Sit slightly forward on your chair, legs at a 90° angle, feet flat on the floor.
- Step 2: Reach behind you and grab onto the back of your chair with both hands, near the bottom of the chair backing. Your hands should wrap around to the back of the chair.
- Step 3: Contract your abdominal muscles slightly, then take a deep breath in and lengthen your spine, allowing your shoulders to roll back and down. As you exhale, press your chest forward and upward, allowing your arms to straighten and stretch. Look upward if it’s okay for your neck. Close your eyes. Press forward as much as you can without straining.
- Step 4: Breathe in and out 3-5 times, then return to starting position. Repeat if desired. Sit quietly for a moment with eyes closed, then return to work
Source: Innergy Corporate Yoga