There are so many benefits to yoga, from a clearer mind and reduced stress levels to a more supple body and increased productivity. Starting or ending every day with a one-hour yoga practice would do wonders for your mind and body, but it’s not always practical or possible. Luckily, there are some yoga exercises that you can do in your office.
Seated Crescent Moon Pose
You can do this pose sitting on your office chair, so there’s no reason not to try and fit it in a few times in your working day. Being sat at a computer all day can really play havoc with your spine, neck, and shoulders, so this exercise can really help. Stretch your arms above your head with your palms together, leaning to one side as far as is comfortable, before taking three deep, restorative breaths. Repeat on the other side. This will make your spine feel longer and your head more focussed.
Standing Seal Pose
This is one you need to stand up for, so best done when you’re alone in your office, so you don’t have to explain what you’re doing if your boss walks by! This is a really satisfying stretch when you’ve been sitting at a desk all day. Stand with your legs wider than hip-width apart and your arms behind you with your fingers interlaced together. Take a deep breath and on the out-breath, bend at the hips, bring your arms up behind you and hold for a few more breaths. Stand back up slowly by squeezing your shoulder blades together and exhale to release.
Chair Pigeon Pose
Do you often sit with one leg crossed over the other? This can actually create imbalances in your hips and your lower spine, which can lead to discomfort. You can rebalance things with this pigeon pose variation, performed in a chair. Start with both of your feet flat on the floor, and then lift your right leg, crossing it over the left with your ankle resting on your knee at a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your foot flexed and keep the weight evenly distributed on your sit bones. Take 5-10 deep breaths on each side and enjoy a moderate stretch on the outside of your thigh, before changing legs.
Desk Upward Dog Pose
When we sit at a desk, we automatically round our shoulders and upper back, which can cause damage long-term, so a chest opening pose is really important. Set your hands on the side of your desk, around shoulder-width apart (make sure your desk is really sturdy, you don’t want to fall over!), and step your feet back so that your body is in a diagonal line. Start by bending at the waist to a 90-degree angle, with your hands still on the desk, stretching out your shoulders. Hold for a few breaths. Then, lower your hips towards the desk as you lean your torso back in a back-bend, tilting your chin to the sky and sliding your shoulder blades down your spine.
Next time you feel the mid-afternoon slump trying to consume you, or clients have you ready to tear your hair out, try some of these desk yoga poses to relieve your stress and improve your general well-being.