We all know that we should move our bodies more. Today’s sedentary-dominated lifestyle, particularly the amount of sitting we tend to do, has been compared to smoking cigarettes in the negative impact it can have on our overall health.
Recently we talked about five ways to fit exercise into your busy life—and when those workouts can happen, all the better. But for those days you’re really in a jam, for the times you literally can’t step away, we’ve got five yoga poses you can do right at your desk.
1. Garudasana/eagle pose
Stretch your arms straight out in front of you so they’re parallel to the floor, and widen your shoulder blades out across your back. Cross your arm across your body as if you’re going to give yourself a hug, with the right arm above the left, then bend your elbows. Lift your forearms so they’re in front of your face, perpendicular to the floor. Press your right palm into the left, lift your elbows up and reach your fingers towards the ceiling. Stay for 3-5 slow, deep breaths in and out. Unwind the arms and shake them out. Repeat with the left arm over the right
2. Simple pec stretch with a strap
Hold a belt or scarf with your hands out in front of you, almost twice as wide as your shoulders. Slowly bring your arms up over your head, and continue back behind you until you feel a stretch in the front of your armpits. Pull your shoulder blades down your back, and breathe.
3. Half downward dog
This is like downward dog, but with hands on your desk instead of floor. Slide your chair out of the way and stand with your hands on your desk. Push your hands into the desk, and push your hips up and back. Elongate the spine and lift your sit bones. Breathe deeply for 3-5 breaths. This is a good active pose to energize and refresh.
Interlace fingers and turn palms up towards ceiling with straight arms. The upper arms must squeeze together then pull back towards the back of your chair. Then, the base of your shoulder blades should feel like they are scooping your rib cage forward and upward.
The purpose here is to strengthen the upper back. Been sitting hinged over all day? Your back is tired of stretching, that’s why it’s sore.
5. Chair twist
Sit on the edge of your chair with your back straight and your knees pressing together. Inhale while lengthening your spine. As you exhale, twist to the right, placing the left hand on the outside of the right knee, and the right hand on the back of the chair. You’re pushing with your left hand and pulling with your right hand. Take three deep breaths here, and then release the twist. Repeat twisting to the left.