How many hours do you spend sitting at a desk per day? If you’re like most people, it’s probably a good chunk of time! Unfortunately, sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to imbalances in your body that cause poor posture and injury down the road. But have no fear, MNB is here! All you need is a few minutes to try these 6 yoga poses to do at your desk – you don’t even have to leave your cubicle.
1. Neck Stretch
- Place your right hand on your head and gently pull your head down toward your right shoulder while reaching through to the floor with your left hand. You should feel a stretch on the left side of your neck. Inhale and exhale for three long breaths reaching with your left fingertips a little more on each exhale. Release back to center. Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Seated Twist
- Keeping your hips evenly rooted in your chair and your knees in line with one another, inhale and place your left hand on your right knee. As you exhale, engage the lower abdominals and twist with the upper part of your spine, placing your right hand behind your back or on the back of the chair. Each time you inhale, imagine yourself growing taller, and each time you exhale, see if you can twist a little bit deeper to the right. Continue keeping your lower abs engaged to support your lower back and focus on twisting more through the upper back than lower back. Release back to center. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Forward Fold with a Twist
- Keeping both hips firmly rooted in your chair, hinge forward with a long spine. Place your left fingertips to the floor underneath your left shoulder as you inhale. Exhale and slowly twist to the right with your upper body, reaching your extended right arm up toward the ceiling. You should feel the stretch across your chest and arms. Inhale and lengthen through your spine, and then as you exhale, engage your lower abs and see if you can reach more through your right arm and even lean back slightly, bringing your gaze up toward your right fingertips. Release back to seated. Repeat on opposite side.
4. Chest & Shoulder Opener
- Stand up with your feet hips-width apart. Interlace your hands behind you and take a big inhale into your chest. As you exhale gaze up slightly, lean back in the upper back, and reach your clasped hands down toward the floor. You should feel a stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders. Keep your abs engaged and don’t bend too much into the lower back, but rather bend more in the upper part of your spine. Inhale and exhale three long breaths and on each exhale see if you can squeeze your arms together a little closer and reach your clasped hands a little more toward the floor – but keep the movement more in the upper back rather than the lower back!
- Repeat again, but switch the clasping of your hands.
5. Low Lunge
- Come down to the floor on your knees. Bring your right leg forward so your knee is directly above your right ankle (you may have to inch your right foot forward a little bit to make this happen). Stretch your left leg back behind you with your left shin on the floor (you can have your toes either curled under or place the top of your foot directly on the floor). Place your hands on top of your right thigh, just above the knee. Keep your upper body tall and your lower abdominals engaged to support your lower back. You should feel the stretch in your left psoas, or the front of your left hip. Keep breathing slowly in and out to go slightly deeper into the stretch. If you find that your right knee is shifting beyond your right ankle, shift your right foot forward a bit more. After three long breaths, release back to a seated position on your knees. Repeat on the opposite leg.
6. Seated Hip Opener
- From sitting up tall in your chair, lift your right leg up and bring your right ankle across to land right above your left knee. Flex your right foot to protect your knee. Gently place your left hand on your right ankle and your right hand on your right knee. If you have tight hips (which many of us do from sitting in chairs all day long), your shin might not be parallel to the floor, and that’s perfectly fine! The goal is to feel the stretch in and around your hip joint without feeling any pain in your knee. Work toward opening your hips a little more each time by inching your right knee gently toward the floor and maybe, eventually, your right shin will be parallel with the floor. After three breaths, release your right leg to meet your left. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Now that you’ve taken a well-deserved moment for yourself, you can get back to work. Encourage your workmates to get on the bandwagon with you too. We are certain it will make for a fun and pleasant work atmosphere.
Download the full office yoga workout here.
Wishing you a happy and productive day!