By Laura Gordon
So you can’t get up every half hour you spend at your desk and do a 10 minute cardio work out?…well, really who can? But 4 hours non-stop bent over your computer? Not so good for the neck, shoulders, back, butt or legs – not to mention all that internal stuff.
I’ve done a little research and compiled some images and directions to follow. Here are some ways for you to energize your mind, stretch out your muscles, get your blood moving and de-stress without having to leave your work space. Some call it Desk Yoga, I like to call it A Great Break.
- Neck rolls
With your eyes closed drop your chin to your chest and start a slow neck circle stretching your ears as close to your relaxed shoulders as your body will allow. Be sure to breathe slowly in and out through your nose. This helps relieve neck tension and realigns it in correct position to the body. After 3 to 5 rolls one way reverse and repeat.
- Eagle Arms
Bring your arms together in front of your body at 90 degree angles, interlock them by placing one elbow above the other and twining the arms ending with palms together and fingers pointing up. Hold for two full breaths, reverse arm placement and repeat. By the way, doing this strengthens your back muscles, shoulders, and triceps. While doing this pose you can also cross and interlock your legs.
- Overhead Stretch
Interlock your fingers and turn palms away from your body, with extended arms raise them until palms are facing the ceiling. Hold this position for two full breaths feeling the stretch along the arms and torso. The beauty of this simple stretch is the reduction of stress in your head, neck and shoulder muscles.
- Forward Bend
Moving your chair away from your desk again interlock your fingers this time at your back. Bending over your legs straighten your arms and move them above your back as far as you can. Relax your neck as your chest rests on your thighs. Hold for two full breaths. This pose opens the chest and stretched the shoulder and chest joints and muscles.
- Chair Twist
For this pose sit in your chair with both feet on the ground in front of you, put both hands on one arm rest and twist your torso toward that side as far as you can using your arms to pull you. Hold for a count of 5. No arm rest? Sit sideways in your chair and place an arm on the back of the chair and twist toward it. Repeat on the other side. Feel your chest open. Be sure to breathe in as you move into the pose, release the breath and increase the twist. Hold for two full breaths. This pose does wonders for the upper spine including muscles of the spine, obliques and abdomen.
- Lumbar Twist
Raise both arms to shoulder height, twist to one side, bend and waist and lower your torso. Stop as your fingers touch the ground; look up at the opposite hand now above your head. Hold this pose for two full breaths. Repeat on the other side. This twist works on the lower back. An excellent stretch for your upper arm and opening the lumber and pelvic base.
- Leg Stretch
Straighten one leg to a parallel position with the floor. Point your foot up and toes toward your body; feel the stretch in the back of the leg. Hold as you breathe in and out deep, full breaths. To complete this position turn your ankle out, bend the knee and place your ankle on the opposite knee. Slowly press the knee on the top leg, hold for two full breaths. Repeat on your other leg. This pose stretches the inner muscles of the hip and leg.
- Straight Leg Toe Points
Lift both legs and straighten as the knees. Point and flex the foot slowly with purpose feeling the stretch and pull with each move. Breathe in as you point breath out as you flex. Do this as many times as you like.
This completes simple but powerfully effective stretches you can do at your desk to receive the benefits of increased muscle toning, blood flow, mental alertness, centering and calmness in the midst of your full and busy day. Do these often and with intention. It will not take long to note wonderful changes both within and without.
Your assignment this week is practice these 8 Desk Yoga positions for two days, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Record your experience and let us know your comments below.