One of the worst things many of us do for our bodies on a daily basis is to sit hunched over our desk typing or staring at a screen. This sort of inactivity and posture constricts our breathing, creates tension in the upper back, and puts the whole body out of balance.
It is not uncommon for office workers to leave at 5pm feeling lethargic, drained, and sore despite feeling like they've done nothing all day.
The typical office environment, with its artificial air and lighting and the lack of focus on movement, is unlikely to change any time soon. But we can start to reclaim our right to feel good by stopping for regular yoga breaks without even leaving the office.
Even if your office requires that you stay at your desk all day, you can still find time for yoga by stopping for short yoga breaks right in your chair. Here are three yoga poses for the office:
1. Seated Twists
Practicing a simple Seated Twist helps to keep the spine mobile. This pose can relieve tension in the back and release stagnant energy. It is also a good reminder to be mindful of our posture, encouraging us to sit straighter for the rest of the day.
With the feet flat on the floor, breathe in and lift the spine long. Take one arm over the opposite knee and turn the gaze to look behind you. Keep gently pressing the hand into the leg to increase the twist.
2. Neck Stretches
Regularly stretching out the neck can help you avoid those tension headaches that tend to creep in by the end of the day.
Take one hand onto the side of the head and gently draw the head and neck down to one side. Breathe into the length created in the side of the neck and imagine tension leaving with the exhale.
Tuck the chin in and look down towards the side of the body, taking the stretch into the back of the neck. The hand can remain on the top of the head to increase the stretch.
3. Eagle Arms
This pose stretches into the arms, shoulders, and across the upper back. Eagle Arms help to relieve the stress that builds up in these areas when we are working at a desk or computer.
Take one arm underneath the other and wrap the palms together. Breathe in lifting the arms up, and as you exhale let the shoulders drop away from the ears. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you're lucky enough to have an office that supports yoga breaks, you might like to try incorporating some yoga into your workday. Stop what you're doing and unroll your mat — I guarantee you'll feel better for it.