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As a studio owner and full-time marketing coordinator, I feel the struggles of deskwork. I’d much rather be moving on my mat than sitting behind a desk but, my bank account prefers the latter. So how do you economically incorporate yoga at work?
Find time for yoga at work
To beat office fatigue and stagnation, add these 4 yoga poses and meditation to your 9-5 routine.
Easily done at your workspace, or in a quiet spot at the office, practice this quick and easy yoga at work sequence to feel refreshed, grounded, and energized.
(Photo Credit: Zheng Chia)
Chair Spinal Twist
Spinal twists increase blood flow and circulation, re-align vertebrae, and can lessen stress levels.
Turn on your chair so that the backrest is against your right arm.
Ground down through both feet while twisting your torso to the right.
Hold onto the back of the chair; on the inhale lengthen your spine, on the exhale twist. Be sure to bring your chin and vision towards your right shoulder.
Repeat for 3-5 breaths and switch sides.
Stand Up, Wrist Stretch
If you’ve been sitting most of the day, stand up! Like most of us, we use our dominant hand to type, text, and move a mouse. The extensors and flexors in the forearm become tight with this repetitive use.
Once standing, flip your palms to face your desk, wrists to face your computer, and fingers on the edge of the desk.
Lean away from the desk whilst trying to flatten the palms as much as possible.
Sway side to side to change the stretch and stay for 3-5 breaths. If you feel any pain, try backing off a bit or allow the palms to hover an inch above the desk.
Chair Warrior II (chair optional)
Not only is this pose grounding; it will increase stamina, and stretch and strengthen your legs, ankles, and hips.
Widen your stance 3-4 feet while creating a heel-to-arch intersection between your feet.
The front knee bends at 90 degrees and that kneecap should track towards the center toe.
Shoulders stack over the hips. Extend the arms parallel to the ground. Chest and hips are open to the side.
Now begin to engage. Even out the weight between both feet, lengthen the torso, relax the shoulders, reach with the arms, turn the head forward, and gaze past your fingers.
Hold for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and repeat on the opposite side. *Optional to add the support of a chair under your front thigh.
Foot Myofascial Release
Make it a habit of keeping a tennis ball at your desk. This pose will open the Superficial Back Line of the body while stimulating the plantar fascia of the foot. Great for flat feet and for those who wear high heels.
Slip your shoes off. This alone may give you a sense of relaxation, as the feet feel free to wiggle and move about. (Socks optional)
Put the tennis ball on the floor and step onto it with one foot. Apply as much pressure as you need by standing over the ball.
Roll the ball from the heel to the toes. Try to touch every part of the foot, even the inner arch, and outer edge. Allow the toes to separate and the heel to feel pressure. If you find a trigger point or a spot that gives you more sensation than another, pause and apply pressure to that spot for extra release.
Continue for 1 minute and switch sides.
Workday Meditation with Diaphragmatic Breathing
In addition to yoga poses, meditation is a powerful tool to utilize during the workday. I suggest slipping it in at the same time every day so it becomes a habit, or take a moment for it when you’re feeling higher stress levels. Just 3-5 minutes can have a profound impact on clearing and energizing the mind. This allows the nervous system to leave fight or flight and restores the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
This can be done at your workspace, in a quiet spot at the office, outside in nature, or even in your car during breaks. Commit fully by closing your computer and putting your phone on silent.
Un-attach from what you think meditation should look or feel like. It is simply a time set aside for you to become quiet and still.
Sit in any way you feel most comfortable. Try stacking shoulders above hips so that the spine is anatomically straight. Place one hand over your heart and one hand over your navel. Ground the seat to the earth and close your eyes.
Hone in on your breath. Breathe in and out through the nose creating long and full breaths.
As you inhale, imagine your belly and lungs expanding like a balloon. Feel it press into your hands, expand your spine, massage your organs, inflate your chest and tickle the back of your throat. Let the balloon of air touch all parts of your body.
As you exhale, imagine the belly and lungs flattening like a pancake. Focus on emptying the balloon, down to every last drop of air. The belly pulls in, the diaphragm domes up and all the air releases from your body. In essence, you soften throughout.
If you would like to set a mantra to this meditation, or a repeated phrase, try this: on the inhalation repeat (in the mind) “I feel the air” and on the exhalation, “I feel earth”.
Continue this for 3-5 minutes or as long as you need. If in the middle your mind wanders, simply come right back to the start. Your awareness of the wandering mind is the practice of meditation.
You don’t have to take an entire hour out of your work day to incorporate yoga at work…
In as little as a few relaxing minutes, you can increase your health quickly while letting off a little stress!