After spending our holidays doing all sorts of activities, and perhaps spending a lot of time on the couch, we’re back at our desks, spending long hours in front of our computers, laptops, and steering wheels.
Most of us slump our shoulders over our keyboards, dumping in our lower backs, closing off our lungs and making the lungs and heart work extra hard to get oxygen to our brain. This causes the body to use up a lot of energy, making us feel tired quickly, and often depressed.
Here are some yoga exercises that you can do at your desk, in your office, before you start work in the morning, or whenever you feel in a slump or have a tension headache. Fill your body with fresh oxygen to wake up the mind and increase your concentration. Doing these poses and breathing will make you feel happier and help you to get more done.
Put your phone on silent, close your office door (if you have one). Sit upright, close your eyes, focus on your breath. Do this for a few minutes.
Studies have shown that breath control and awareness of breath develops the front lobe of the brain. This is the part of the brain that develops good habits and self discipline. Commit to focus on your breath 100%, make the breath long and deep. You can count the length of your breath quietly in your thoughts. Increase the count over time from 4 to 7.
Keep this deep, relaxing breath as you do the following poses:
Interlace fingers behind the head. Make sure you are sitting up straight by grounding your seat bones into your chair and tuck your tailbone. Tummy muscles should be engaged. Lengthen in your lower back. Lift your chest up and look up. Relax your shoulder blades down your back. Take 5 long and deep breaths. Whatever goes through your mind, let it go, and keep your focus on your breathing.
Keeping your fingers interlaced, bring your head to your chest. Keep the length in your spine and tailbone tucked. You should feel a fabulous stretch in your neck and upper back. Breathe into your shoulders and neck, and visualize tension leaving your body. Take 5 long and deep breaths.
Wrap your left arm underneath your right arm. Bring your elbows in line with your shoulders, and your hands in line with your elbows. Notice your shoulders coming forward – move them back. Relax your shoulders down your back. Keep the length in your spine. Tummy is engaged, pull your navel to your spine and keep your tailbone tucked.
Make sure to swop the hands around and do the same on the other side. Hold each side for 5 long, deep and luxurious breaths.
Interlace your fingers behind your back, squeeze shoulder blades together. Press your palms together and lift your fist up towards the roof. Again, make sure to sit up straight, tummy engaged, and keep your focus on your breath, 5 long and deep breaths.
Clasp your elbows and relax your torso forward into a rag doll pose. Relax your neck and shoulders. Bring most of your weight onto your toes. Press into all four corners of your feet. Engage your thighs by pulling your knee caps up. The whole torso is relaxed, the legs are strong and active. Again, hold this pose for 5 long and deep breaths.
From rag doll pose above, roll your torso up one vertebra at a time until the head comes up last. From standing, bend your knees, tuck your tailbone. Reach your arms up and lift your chest up to the sky. Relax your shoulder blades down your back. Imagine you are sitting down on an chair. Hold this pose for 5 long and deep breaths.
Press your hands into your seat. Pull your pelvic floor muscles up, the core does all the work in this pose. Lift yourself off your chair and hold this for 5 breaths. This pose is really good for toning the stomach muscles.
Put your right foot onto your left knee. Ground the seat bones down. Sit up straight, tummy muscles slightly engaged. Point your toes to your knee. Press your right knee down and fold forward. Lengthen through the crown of the head. Go as far as you can, don’t force it. Keep your focus on your breath, and hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting up straight and facing forward, turn to your right. Hold the back of your chair with your right hand, whilst bringing your left hand to your right hip. Gently pull on the chair, increasing the twist in your upper back. Listen to your body, be gentle. Keep your hips level, facing forward. Hold this for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
This sequence shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. By investing 20 minutes in your health, you will save yourself time and money.
You should feel a lot calmer throughout your day, and more focused. Let me know your experience with these simple desk yoga poses, or if you have any questions 🙂