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If your daily routine consists of being chained to your desk for 8 (or more) hours, your health and fitness are the usual collateral damage. Back pain, poor posture, and neck strain become work colleagues too — as if we need work to be extra tough as it is, right?
But it doesn’t need to be that way. No need to drag yourself all the way to the yoga studio when you can easily bring your own Zen to your work desk with these simple, beginner-friendly yoga positions during your break.
Let’s Start with Your Breathing
Take a few moments to focus on your breathing before commencing into a pose.
First, lift yourself towards the front edge of your chair, aligning your hips all the way to your ears. Make your knees even with your hip joints with your feet directly underneath and the soles of your foot resting flat on the floor. You can prop yourself up with a book under your feet or hips for better alignment. Place your palms on your thighs, or in any comfortable position.
When you’re all set, gently close your eyes and think of your mind as a blank canvas.
Now breathe in, hold for a few seconds, then breathe out. Focus in creating smooth, deep breaths all the way from your diaphragm. Focus on the rise and fall of your upper abdomen in every breath intake.
Whenever you’re ready, gently open your eyes and make your way into the following poses.
For chairs with armrests. Position yourself against the backrest. Inhale, then reach over your head. Exhale, then twist to your right and place both hands on the right armrest for support.
For armless chairs. Grab the right side of the seat with your right hand, before your pelvis, and grab your right thigh with your left hand. Inhale, then exhale twisting to the right.
Feel your spine lengthen in each deep breath. Allow your body to go deeper into the pose. Hold for 1 minute before switching sides.
Chair Pigeon Pose
With your feet flat on the floor, bring your right leg over the left at a 90-degree angle. This will keep your foot flexed, easing the pressure from the knee. Distribute your weight evenly between the sitting bones as you maintain an upright seated position.
Hold position for several breaths, then switch sides. Notice the stretch on the outermost part of your right thigh.
Desk yoga pushups, yes! This one will make you stand up.
Place your hands a shoulder’s width away from the edge of your desk (make sure it’s sturdy, okay?) and take a step back, bringing your torso into a diagonal line to the floor. Secure a firm foothold, then inhale as you bend your elbows into a 90-degree angle, bringing your elbows towards your ribs.
As you exhale, push your chest up into your starting position. Do this around 8-12 times.
And there you have it! Your own office Zen relieving you of office stress. Hopefully you’re now in a better, more relaxed disposition to clock back in from your break and power through the rest of the shift!
For more desk exercises you can do throughout the day, check out our exercise blogs.