Yoga is a relaxing, low-impact exercise that can help you re-center your mind and reduce stress. It can also help you loosen up your limbs and relieve a stiff neck and shoulders that can result from prolonged sitting. Practicing simple yoga moves while at work can not only help make you feel more at ease and less stressed, but can help you concentrate and focus on your work. Try this yoga sequence to help you de-stress at work. This sequence is fairly inconspicuous, so you won’t have to worry about bothering (or confusing) your coworkers. Totally new to yoga? Remember, always talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise!
First, stand up and shake out. Much of yoga consists of stretches. Before stretching, it is important to warm up your muscles! Get up for a few minutes and take a quick walk before you start, or stand up, shake out your arms and legs, and march in place.
Then take a few deep breaths. Sit down, close your eyes and inhale deeply, down into your belly. Then slowly exhale. Repeat 5 times. You should feel your belly move in and out as you breathe.
Now you’re ready to perform the following sequence of yoga moves. They’ve been modified to account for the fact you’re sitting.
Tips: For each pose, start with good posture: feet flat on the floor, back straight, chin up, and shoulders back. You’re going to hold your poses based on breath counts. One breath would be an inhale, followed by an exhale.
1. Raised hands with stretched fingers
How to do it: Place your arms straight down your sides. Keep your hands and fingers pointed toward the ground. Inhale while slowly raising your arms to the ceiling. Lean back slightly to feel the stretch in your shoulders. Open your hands wide to stretch between your fingers. Exhale and slowly lower your arms. Repeat for 5 breaths.
2. Seated cat-cow stretch
How to do it: Rest your hands on your thighs so that the tips of your fingers are at the tops of your knees. Inhale deeply while simultaneously rolling your shoulders back and leaning your head back so that your spine curves similar to the letter “C” to perform the cow pose. Next exhale, and roll your shoulders forward while arching your back to perform the cat pose. Your head should be forward as if trying to look at your belly button. Continuously form the cat-cow pose for 5 breaths.
3. Seated eagle
How to do it: Cross your legs by bringing your right thigh over your left thigh. Next, wrap your right foot around your left calf. Raise your arms and bend your elbows so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Cross your left arm over your right arm so your elbows are overlapping. Twist your forearms around each other. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat with the opposite side.
4. Seated pigeon
How to do it: Bring your left ankle up and rest it on your right thigh, just above your knee. Lean forward until you feel a light stretch. Hold it for 5 breaths. Repeat with your right ankle.
Close out your sequence with some additional deep breathing. Get comfortable in your seat, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Remember to get the oxygen deep into your belly for truly relaxing breaths. Then slowly exhale. Repeat 10 times.
Open your eyes and resume your work!
We hope you feel rested, relaxed and ready to get back to work! Try to practice this sequence several times a week in order to stay ahead of stress.