3 Simple Yoga at Work Poses to do at the Office for Stress Relief
Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. From its ancient Indian roots, to its wide-reaching, global popularity, yoga has been performed by people of all ages and strengths to promote mindfulness, improve flexibility, curb lower back pain and so much more. For people who work behind a desk from 9-5, it’s important to take time throughout the day to stretch, move around and take a break from the pressure and stress of sitting for long periods of time. How can you do this? Let’s talk about yoga at the office.
Sandra Chu, Wello’s Corporate Health Manager, and yoga instructor prepared a few “office-ready” yoga moves to share. Grab a colleague or take some space for yourself, and practice these simple poses!
1) Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Benefits: minimize your time spent in a sitting position and improve your posture.
- Stand balanced with your feet hip-width apart.
- Engage the quadriceps and tighten the core.
- Lift your sternum and roll the shoulders back so your palms face your thighs.
- Lengthen the spine and back of your neck – imagine a string pulling the top of your head towards the ceiling – with a slight chin tuck.
- Shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be aligned – the pelvis is neutral, not tucked or tilted.
- An example of how this looks can be seen here.
- Stand for 60 seconds focusing on your breath and posture.
TIP: If you find it difficult to align your body, stand with your back against a wall. The wall will help provide greater body awareness and give you the ability to make adjustments for stability.
2) Desk Adhomukha Svanasana (Desk Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
- Benefits: gently stimulates the nervous system to improve focus and productivity.
- This pose is similar to a downward dog pose, however, your hands are instead holding your desk and your legs are vertical.
- Stand facing your desk with your feet hip-width apart and hold the edge of your desk with both hands.
- Begin to walk back, allowing your trunk to move parallel to the floor. See an example here.
- If your hamstrings are tight, keep your knees slightly bent.
- Lower your head so it is in between your upper arms.
- Relax your chest and allow it to sink to the floor.
- Feel the stretch from your hands to your heels.
- Take a deep breath in, then open your mouth for a deep exhale.
- Repeat for 5 breaths.
TIP: If you have been sitting for a long period of time before doing this exercise, or are wearing heels, make sure to take them off prior to doing this pose. To warm up the back of your leg muscles bend your knees slowly a few times.
3) Bharadvajasana (Torso Twist)
- Benefits: decrease stiffness in your back, neck, and shoulders.
- Sit sideways in an armless chair so your right side is against the chair back – sit tall to elongate your spine and the back of the neck.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Hold the outer edges of the chair back and exhale as you turn right.
- Look over your shoulder with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
- Push the right side of the chair away from you, pull the left side of the chair towards you. See an example here.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat on the left side.
Tip: If you have suffered from a back injury (such as a herniated disk) or generally feel pain in your back, you may want to skip this yoga at work exercise or focus more on lengthening your spine and posture rather than twisting.
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