Although summer break may be just around the corner, many of us will continue to work in sedentary positions throughout the warm season, spending hours seated, hovering over our keyboards, and staring at screens. It’s easy to forget to get up and stretch your legs when deadlines start to creep up on you. However, moving your body is absolutely essential, and even boosts your productivity! This is due to a variety of reasons. Movement leads your heart to pump more blood, which in turn increases your alertness. Additionally, movement releases serotonin, which can reduce work-induced stress. By keeping your body healthy, you keep your mind healthy, and can better focus on succeeding at your job.
Here’s a short, seated yoga flow you can practice at your desk in the office!
1. Knee to chest
Sit with a straight back and your feet flat on the floor. Pull one knee in towards your chest wrapping your arms around your shin Feel free to take some ankle circles to stretch out your feet in this pose as well. Release your leg, and repeat on the other side. This pose releases pressure in the legs, which can get tired and sore from sitting too long.
2. Seated Figure four
Remaining seated, bring your right foot on top of your left knee. Keeping the right foot flexed gently press the right knee towards the earth, to create a figure 4 with your legs. Release and repeat on the other side. Sitting for extended periods of time tightens the hips, which can lead to back problems. This pose is great for letting go of work-related stressors and addressing back pain.
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3. Seated Side bend
As you inhale, reach your fingertips up towards the sky. At your exhale, drop your left hand to the chair by your left hip and stretch your right hand up and over. Bring your gaze to your right arm. Bring both arms overhead before repeating on the other side. This pose is great for stretching out the arms and side body. It’s particularly good for improving your posture.
4. Seated spinal twist
Return to your seated position. As you inhale sit up tall and begin to twist your torso to the left, bringing your right hand to your left knee and your left hand to the chair by your left hip. Hold, then release, and repeat on the other side. Side twists are great for stretching back muscles, which expands your spines range of motion. This is essential for students and office workers who spend the majority of their days sitting, as it protects the joints in your back.
4. Seated Cat & cow
In a seated position, bring your hands to your knees. On your inhale, look up and push the chest forward and squeeze the shoulder blades back. On your exhale, look down and arch your back, bringing your nose to your belly button. Move through these poses, following your breath. Cat and cow help to improve your focus and stability. They are great for relieving neck and back pain, as well as release stress and increase flexibility.
5. forward fold
Returning to a seated position and keeping a straight spine, extend your arms overhead.Start hinging at the hips and bring your chest toward your thighs, maintaining a straight back until you can’t bend any further, and then fold over your knees. Allow your head to hang heavy towards your knees.. This pose aids in calming the body by increasing blood circulation to the brain, which also helps in alleviating stress, anxiety, fatigue, and headaches.
Now that you have these five yoga poses to flow through in the office, make sure to maintain a regular practice, and to supplement the flow with walks at least ten minutes every hour to keep your body energized. In doing so, you will increase your work productivity and keep your body healthy. This flow is quick, simple, and perfect for busy lifestyles. If you incorporate these poses into your practice, don’t forget to tag me @yogi_noni so I can see you flow and cheer you on! Good luck! Check out Ali’s (@freckled_yogi) video demonstration of this seated flow below!