It should come as no surprise that sitting at a desk all day is dodgy for your health. We’ve all heard the adage, ‘sitting is the new smoking’ so we know sitting isn’t doing us any favours. But we can’t simply give up our desk jobs, so what can we do to try and undo some of the damage?
One way to reduce the tension, tightness and discomfort of sitting all day is to add in some at-your-desk yoga poses. Stretch breaks are super important to break up your day, add in some movement, relieve stress and boost your productivity. We’ve collected 6 yoga poses you can do at your desk, you could even do them on your next boring conference call with the London office (we promise your English colleagues won’t even notice!).
1. Sit mindfully
Yes, we’ve just discussed that sitting is killing us, but this ‘sit’ is different. Take a seat on your chair with your hands resting gently on your thighs or folded in your lap. Rest your feet flat on the floor and sit up tall. Try not to lean on your backrest, instead engage your core to keep you upright. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for 4 counts and breathe out of your nose for 5 counts. Repeat this cycle ten times.
2. Seated cat and cow
Shift forward a little on your seat to give yourself some room. Inhale as you press your chest forward, pull your shoulders back and look up to the ceiling. Exhale as you round your spine, pull belly to the backbone and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat 5 rounds.
3. Seated lateral stretch
Sit tall and inhale, bring both arms up overhead. Exhale as you lean to the right, dropping your right arm down and stretching the left-hand side of your body by reaching across with the left arm. Stay for 2-3 breaths. Inhale to come back to the middle and repeat on the other side.
4. Shoulder opener
Push out from your desk about arms’ length distance. Place your palms on the desk shoulder width apart and drop your head between your arms. Let your chest sink towards the ground. Take 5 breaths and release.
5. Seated backbend
Take a seat, inhale and reach your arms up towards the ceiling, lengthening your spine. As you exhale, gently pull the arms back behind you, opening the chest and bending your upper back. Focus on bending into your upper back and not too much into your lower back. Hold for a breath and release. Repeat 5 times.
6. Seated twist
This is especially good to do after your seated backbend. Sit in your chair with your spine lengthened. Inhale to pick up through the crown of the head. Exhale as you twist to the left. You can grip your armrests or base of your chair as leverage to twist further. Hold each side of your twist for 5 breaths, using each exhale as an opportunity to twist your midsection further looking over your shoulder.