My 50-hour per week sales job was financially considerate, but physically and mentally exhausting. Sore neck, back pain, slumped shoulders, tight hips, and mental stress were the consequences of sitting at a computer taking phone calls all day.
Thankfully, I had a supportive yoga community and passionate teachers to help me deal with the demands my job. Eventually, I was led toward the wellness path, and began helping others stay mind-body strong through teaching yoga, Reiki, and giving bodywork.
Revive and rejuvenate from the cubicle farm with these five yoga poses. It will only take about fifteen minutes of your time, and you don’t have to be an advanced yogi to reap the benefits of each one.
1. Low Lunge Variation (Anjaneyasana)
From Tabletop Pose, step your right foot forward between your hands. With the knee over the ankle, root your entire front foot. Place the back knee down and the top of the back foot on the floor. You may need to move the left knee back a little until you feel a stretch in the groin.
On an inhalation, draw your tailbone forward as you lift your torso, and rest your hands on your thigh. Lengthen your spine to the crown of the head. Hold for three breaths, then return to Tabletop. Repeat on the left side.
You can use blocks on either side of the front foot for balance, and place a blanket under the back knee for padding.
Why it helps: Low Lunge stretches the psoas muscle, which is in constant contraction while sitting in a chair. This pose can also help relieve sciatica pain, as well as open the chest and shoulders.
2. Eagle Arms (Garudasana)
Inhale, extend the arms out at your sides, creating a “T” shape. Exhale, swing the right arm underneath the left as your press the forearms together, keeping them perpendicular to the floor. Press the palms together, or grab the opposite wrist. Lift the elbows slightly as you melt the shoulders down the back.
If this feels uncomfortable, keep the arms crossed, but release the palms on the shoulders and give yourself a hug! Practice this seated or standing, holding each side for three rounds of breath.
Why it helps: Eagle arms stretch not only the arms, but the shoulders and upper back, counteracting the hunched-over-the-keyboard pose.
3. Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Lie on your belly with your legs side by side, rotate your thighs inward, and slightly roll your outer thighs towards the floor. Draw the tailbone towards the toes, and press the toes into the mat. Situate your shoulders over your elbows, forearms parallel, palms down.
Melt the front and the back of the heart as you soften the shoulders. Remain for five to ten breaths.
Why it helps: Sphinx opens the chest and shoulders, while strengthening the spine, making it a perfect release from desk work. This pose helps to quiet a busy mind.
4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
From Tabletop Pose, spread your knees about as wide as your mat, and bring the big toes towards one another. Rest your hips back towards your heels. You can place a rolled up blanket between the hips and heels for more support. Stay for five breaths.
Why it helps: Child’s Pose stretches the low back, opens the hips, ankles, side body, neck, and arms. Balasana is grounding and connects you to inner calmness.
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Lie on your back and feel your body release. Tell your worries to take a vacation. Place your arms at your sides, with your feet flopped open. For added comfort, put a bolster or blanket under the knees, and an eye pillow. Remain here for five to ten minutes.
Why it helps: Savasana eases anxiety, reduces fatigue, and headache. It helps to relieve stress and depression.
Practice these asana on your break, or after you’ve come home from a long day. Show up to work with more energy, stamina, and smiles. A short daily yoga sequence can help you become more productive and present at your job.