Tired of feeling stuck at that desk job? Researchers have found multiple health risks associated with traditional desk jobs due to the high amount of sitting throughout the day. Pausing every hour or so to take a quick break and revitalize the body will promote higher levels of energy, cognition and an increased ability to handle daily stress. If you don’t have time to escape to the gym throughout the day (like many of us don’t), here are a few yoga poses you can try at your desk. These quick poses are designed for yogis at all levels to help ground oneself and promote an overall well-being:
Finger and Hand Stretches
Start by stretching your arms out to your sides or above your head. Rotate your wrists clockwise for 5 to 10 rotations, then counterclockwise for 5 to 10 rotations. Next, stretch your left arm out on the desk with your palm and fingers pointing up. With your right arm, gently pull on your outstretched left palm for 5 to 10 breaths. Switch hand and repeat. These finger and hand stretches can be done every hour to help counter the repetitive motions of many desk jobs.
Chair Pigeon Pose
Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Cross your right foot over your left knee at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back straight and let your hips open. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Place your right foot back on the floor, and repeat with your left leg.
Seated Cow Face Pose
Start in a seated position towards the end of your chair. Straighten your back. Reach your left arm over your head and your right arm over your back. Clasp your hands together behind your back and hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Unclasp hands and return to the seated position. Repeat, now with your right arm over your head and left arm behind your back. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Many people find this pose can be difficult when clasping hands behind the back. If your hands don’t reach, that is ok! Stretch your hands towards one another, so that you can feel a deep stretch in the upper arm and shoulder areas.
Start sitting with a straight spine. Reach your hands above your head and slightly bend backwards at the lower back. While exhaling, let your neck gently fall backwards and look up at the ceiling. Hold this position for 2 to 3 breaths. Repeat as often as necessary to stretch your back and promote good posture.
Seated Crescent Moon Pose
Start in a seated position towards the end of your chair. Reach your hands up above your head and touch your palms together in prayer position. With a tall spine, lean to the right as you exhale. Hold this position for about 3 to 5 breaths. Return to your center position. With your hand still in prayer position above your head, lean to the left while you exhale. Hold that position for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat as often as necessary to strengthen sides and upper back.
Twisting is an excellent aid for healthy circulation and digestion. Start sitting towards the end of your chair. Turn your body at the waist to the left side. You can place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh for a deeper stretch. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Release back to center, and then twist to the right side and hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
While it can be hard to find time in the day for exercise and relaxation, your schedule does not have to get in the way of your spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. These discrete poses can be done by anyone, at any experience level, and in any office. Don’t let time be your excuse! Try daily desk yoga for an increased level of energy, happiness and calm to handle whatever life throws your way.