it reduces inflammation unlike any other physical exercise
Why does it matter to you?
Well, only because constant inflammation caused by an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and chronic stress leads to a long-term risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
it helps practice mindfulness
A little bit of mindfulness every day can go a long way. You can't do a good job and build a successful business if your eye is twitching and you're exhausted all the time.
Thanks to the mind-breath-body connection, a brief yoga session at your office (or home) desk can help you chill out, make better decisions, and get more creative.
Ten Simple Chair Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
Each yoga pose below is meant to leave you feeling better, energized, and ready to take on new business challenges. So if some of the movements don't feel right, or worse - painful, stop immediately.
Also, if you have any existing or previous injuries, don't be a jerk to your body! Consult your doctor or a physical therapist for advice on possible options for a lunch-break exercise routine.
These ten yoga stretches are pretty straightforward in terms of instructions. You can do almost all of them without even getting up from your office chair. Though you'll find me instructing each pose from a seated position, I strongly advise that you try doing most of the poses while standing. What's the good in sitting all day, anyway?
You can do these yoga poses in a sequence as a daily routine. No need to change the order, just do as they are presented in the article. On days when you're a real busy bee, simply break up this yoga routine in chunks or do every pose separately when you have a free minute.
Wrist & Hand Stretches
increases mobility in the fingers, forearms, and hands
reduces stiffness in the wrists
decreases the risk of repetitive strain injury
builds strength in small muscles of fingers and wrists
Begin in a comfortable seated position with a straight spine and your feet planted on the ground.
Breathe in and extend your arms right in front of you, palms facing down. Flex and spread your fingers as wide as you can. Notice if your shoulders start rolling forward and your upper back hunched. Try to keep your chest open.
Breathe naturally in and out through your nose.
Stay in the position for approximately three long full breaths.
On the next exhale, raise your fingertips up to the sky while keeping the arms in the same position. Imagine there's a wall in front of you that you're trying to push. Keep spreading your fingers wide.
Hold the pose for about three long full breaths.
Drop your fingertips so that they face the ground. This may feel awkward at first, but just try pulling the fingers down until you feel the stretch in your wrists and forearms.
Hold the pose for about three long full breaths.
Clench your fingers into fists. Start moving your fists in a circular motion for about a breath.
Change the direction of movement. Try to move from your wrists and stay still in your forearms if possible.
Seated Neck Stretch
lengthens the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back
might be helpful for headaches
Sit in a chair in a comfortable position. Keep your spine upright, your shoulders relaxed, and the chest open.
On an exhale, relax your neck and gently drop your head to the right. As you relax, your head will tilt more to the right. You should feel a stretch in the left side of your neck and upper shoulder.
Hold the pose for about three full breaths and repeat on the other side.
Slowly protrude your head slightly forward and drop your head as if you're trying to reach your chest with your chin. Make sure to keep your neck relaxed and your spine upright.
You should feel a gentle stretch at the back of your neck and most probably in your upper back as well. Stay in the pose for about three long breaths.
Seated Mountain Pose With Arm & Side Stretch
opens the shoulders
stretches the sides of the torso, armpits and upper arms
relieves muscle tension in the shoulders and upper back
Start in an upright seated position.
On an exhale, stretch your arms to the sides and start reaching them overhead with palms facing each other.
If your shoulders are pretty open, clasp your hands together and turn the palms facing the sky. Stay active through your abdominal muscles to keep a straight spine without collapsing forward.
Hold for about three full breaths.
Inhale and on the exhale, bend to the right, stretching the left side of your torso. Stay firmly grounded with your buttocks on the chair and don't let the left sit bone lift up.
Stay in the pose for about three full breaths and repeat on the other side.
Seated Eagle Arms
relieves tension from shoulders and upper back
stretches the upper spine, arms, and wrists
Start in a seated position. Inhale as you extend your arms to the sides with elbows slightly bent and fingertips pointing towards the sky.
Bring each arm across the body to the opposite side as if you're giving yourself a tight hug.
If this feels comfortable, uncross your arms and extend them to the sides. Breathe out and wrap your right arm under the left one, pressing your hands together. Keep your shoulders pushing down away from the ears.
Experiment with the stretch by lifting and lowering your elbows.
Hold for about three full breaths on each side.
Seated Cat-Cow Stretch
stretches the back and front side of the body
frees the breath by opening the chest and lungs
neutralizes the spine position
therapeutic for lower back pain and sciatica
Start in a seated position with your spine straight and hands resting on your knees.
Inhale, lead with your heart and tilt the pelvis forward while rolling your shoulder blades back. Gently gaze upward. This is called a Seated Cow Pose.
Exhale and lean back, rounding with your spine and upper back. Tuck your chin to the chest and gaze down, coming into Seated Cat.
Expand and round at least three times. Match your movements to your breath.
Seated Twist Pose
improves spine flexibility
relieves shoulder and upper spine stiffness
stretches the torso
Begin sitting sideways on your chair with your right side facing the chair's back.
As you exhale, start gently twisting your torso to the right while gripping with your hands onto the back of the chair.
Stay firm through your abdominal muscles. You should twist from the base of the spine rather than in the upper back and neck only.
Try lengthening your spine on every inhale and twisting a little bit deeper on every exhale.
Hold for about three full breaths and switch sides.
Seated Pigeon Pose
stretches the lower back and hips
therapeutic for lower back pain
Begin in a neutral seated position with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
Breathe in and cross your right ankle over the left thigh. Place it slightly above the left knee. Flex your right foot to protect your right knee.
Once you're comfortable in the position, breathe out as you start bending forward to get deeper into the stretch.
Stay in the pose for about three breaths. Repeat on the other leg.
builds strength in the lower body
tones the core muscles
increases mobility in the upper body
therapeutic for flat feet
Begin in a standing position with feet hip-distance apart.
On an inhale, reach your arms overhead.
Breathe out, start bending your knees, and shifting your buttocks back as if you're trying to sit in a chair behind you. Make sure to place the weight of your body into your heels. You should be able to lift your toes and wiggle them.
Keep your chest open and your core muscles flexed.
Stay in the position for about 3 breaths.
Supported Downward Dog Pose
stretches the backside of the body including the legs, back, and shoulders
releases the tension after long periods of sitting
Put your chair against the wall so that it wouldn't move while you're doing the pose.
Place your hands on the chair seat as you bend forward.
Start stepping back until your arms are straight and your feet are under the hips at a 90-degree angle. You can move your feet further back if that feels better.
You will feel a stretch in your legs, calves, back, armpits and even sides of the torso.
Hold the pose for about three full breaths.
improve focus and concentration
relieves stress and anxiety
enhances sleep quality
Sit in a comfortable position in a chair with your palms resting on your thighs.
Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath. Notice how your body expands on every inhale and contracts on every exhale.
Try to completely release the tension from every part of your body.
Stay in the position for at least 2 minutes.
It would be a blatant lie to convince you that a few minutes of yoga stretches a day can reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and long hours in front of the computer.
But, as I've already mentioned, any movement is good movement.
If a few minutes a day is what you can afford right now, then be it. I guarantee you'll feel the difference in how your body and mind work real soon.