Whether your profession keeps you behind a desk or has you always standing on your feet, taking a few moments in your busy schedule to breath and recharge can turn your whole work day around. Using only a chair and a quiet space in your office, you can incorporate these simple seated yoga poses into your day so that you return to your work focused and tension-free.
1. Seated Cat and Cow
The Seated Cat and Cow are two wonderful poses to ease tension and stress in the body, especially if your job requires you to remain stationary at a desk for extended periods of time. These poses stretch the neck and spine and open the chest and heart. To begin, sit so that you are at the edge of your chair. With feet firmly planted on the ground, start by placing your hands on your thighs as you elongate your spine and reach with the crown of your head to begin the Cat pose. As you exhale, bring the belly to the spine while rounding your back and allowing your head and shoulders to gently fall forward. Inhaling, move into Cow pose by bringing your belly and chest forward and up. Pulling your shoulders back and bringing your head up and tilted back, as you feel comfortable, leaning into the backbend. Repeat this sequence, as you breathe through the poses, allowing your mind to calm and fluids to flow through your joints.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
The Seated Spinal Twist helps to improve your posture, relieves back pain, and rejuvenates the abdominal organs therefore stimulating digestion. To begin this pose, move towards the edge of your chair with your feet parallel and firmly planted on the ground. Take a moment here, breathing deeply and lengthening your spine with each breath as you feel the crown of your head grow tall. As you begin to feel the space in your spine, press yourself into your seat as you begin to twist to the left side of your chair. Take time to ease into your twist, checking that your shoulders are relaxed and then placing your hands on the back of your seat. When you find a comfortable place, without straining your neck, bring your head to look over your left shoulder. Take time to breath in this pose before you repeat on your right side.
3. Seated Pigeon
The Seated Pigeon is an excellent way to improve flexibility and release tension in your hips. It has also been found to release stress and anxiety, serving as the perfect pose to relax into before that big meeting. To set up this pose, move forward so that you are at the edge of your chair. Bring your left leg up and gently place your left ankle on your right thigh. You may feel a deep fulfilling stretch simply while sitting up tall, and, if so, stay and breath deeply here. If you would like a deeper stretch, fold forward from your hips while keeping a straight spine. Only go as far as your body feels comfortable, and, once you find that place, gently round your back for a relaxing and fulfilling stretch. Repeat on the right side, resting your right ankle on your left thigh.
4. Chair Pose
The Chair Pose will rejuvenate you during your busy workday, as you feel the energy coursing through your body. Aside from strengthening your arms and legs, this pose will open and stimulate your diaphragm. Unlike the previous poses, the chair pose, ironically, does not need to be practiced in a chair, and can be done as you wait for your coffee to be made in the office Keurig. Start in Tadasana, or Mountain pose, as you inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. You may leave your palms facing inward towards one another, or you may clasp them together. Exhale and bend your knees slightly, stopping where you feel comfortable, as you lean forward over your thighs, creating a right angle. As you hold this pose, ensure that your spine remains straight and that your inner thighs remain parallel to one another. Hold and breath in this pose. With an inhale, come out of Chair Pose by straightening your legs and lowering your arms to your side.
Do you practice yoga at work? What are your favorite seated yoga poses?
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Video: Hillary Fink