I’m really excited to be leading the Yoga at Work Workshop on June 14! Many of us work in offices and have pain from sitting at a desk all day. Sore neck, tight shoulders, lower back pain, the list goes on … but we don’t have to suffer! Yoga to the rescue! There are stretches and exercises you can do in the office to help combat pain, stress and tension. I even taught my co-workers yoga poses they could do right at their desk, and then made them pose for photos too. Below are 8 more ways to do yoga at work!
1. Jaw Stretch
How: Close your mouth. Using your pointer and middle fingers, massage the hinge of your jaw in a circular motion moving toward your chin. You can start to release the tongue and focus on slowing down your breath. For an extra release of tension, place your hands on your lap and gently open your mouth wide. Stick your tongue out and close your mouth. Repeat 3 times, moving slowly.
Benefits: Many of us clench our jaws when we are stressed, and you might not even realize it! Tension in the jaw can also lead to headaches. Stress can lead to teeth grinding so give your jaw some love!
2. Wrist and Forearm Stretch
How: Seated in your chair, extend your right arm in front of you. Place your palm away from you with your fingertips pointed towards the ceiling like your about to yell “Stop!” … but don’t yell because we’re in an office :) Intensify the stretch by placing your left hand on your fingers and flexing the hand towards your body. Roll your shoulders down your back and breath. Hold here for 5 breaths. Release and repeat on the left side.
Flip your palm to face you, fingertips point toward the ground. To intensify the stretch, gently place your opposite hand on the back of your hand, flexing your hand towards your body. Roll your shoulders down your back and breath. Hold here for 5 breaths. Release and repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Endless typing and a poor computer set up can be damaging for the wrists. Take a moment to stretch and strengthen them to prevent tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
3. The Double Chin
How: Yes, I just called this stretch the double chin. Sit up straight in your chair. Press the back of your head directly behind you (look you made a double chin!), making sure your shoulders don’t move. Hold for a breath and release. A good visual for this exercise is to imagine standing with your back to a wall and you are holding tennis ball at the back of your head, when you press back, you are pressing the tennis ball harder into the wall. Repeat 10-15 times.
Benefits: Over the work day, the head starts to shift towards the computer screen. The neck and shoulders follow and hunch over. This exercise strengthens the neck muscles and helps realign the neck directly over the shoulders.
4. Shoulder Rolls
How: Stand up from your desk. Inhale and raise your shoulders up to your ears, on your exhale pull your shoulders down your back. Repeat 5-8 times.
Benefits: Helps releases neck and shoulder tension and corrects posture.
5. Eagle Arm Stretch
How: Sit with your feet firmly planted into the ground. Take your right arm and wrap it under your left, wrapping at your wrists if it is available or just place your hands back to back. Start with palms in front of your eyes and gently raise your elbows up so they are at shoulder height. Roll your shoulders down your back and breathe for 5-8 breaths. Release your arms and repeat on the left side, wrapping the left arm under the right.
Benefits: Open shoulder joints, creating space between the shoulder blades to release tension.
6. Forward Fold with Chest Expansion
How: Stand up from your desk. Spread your feet hips width apart. Clasp your fingers behind your back. Start to fold forward while reaching your clasped hands toward the ceiling. If you have really open shoulders, try to extend your hands above your head.
Benefits: Throughout the day, your shoulders may start to creep up into your ears from stress and tension. The chest expansion stretch releases the neck and and shoulders, while the forward fold releases the lower back. The fold also gives your neck and shoulders a break from holding up your head all day!
7. Standing Figure Four
How: Stand up from your desk. Bring your hands to heart center. Ground your left foot down. Inhale your right foot up off the ground, bending at the knee. Gently place the right ankle over the left knee. Intensify the stretch by bending your left knee and sitting back. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Sitting may seem comfortable but it’s not natural to sit at desk for 40+ hours a week. The hip flexors shorten from sitting for long periods of time. This stretch opens up the hips and can also help relieve lower back pain.
How: Close your eyes, place your hands on your knees palms facing down. Take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the nose. Begin to slow down your breath. Start to count the breath in and match the length on your exhale. Repeat as long as you like.
Benefits: When things are hectic, use your breath to calm you down. Breathing exercises can improve concentration while slowing down the nervous system.
Take a walk! Get your blood flowing by getting up from your desk to go for a walk. Walk to get coffee, take a loop around the block, or even a stroll around the office to say “Hi!” to your co-workers. A walk will help boost your mood and leave you energized so you can tackle the rest of your day!
Join us for Yoga at Work with Hallie Anoff on June 14, 2-3:15 PM
We will flow and target problem areas, then practice stretches and relaxation techniques you can incorporate into your work day.
$25 advance, $35 at the door