Three easy and beneficial yoga poses to do when sedentary at work (or working from home)

Covid-19 has changed the world and our lives in ways we never thought possible. In early March of 2020 our homes, the one place we thought to be the easiest escape from work, became like a prison as mandatory lock-downs swept the nation. For months employers and employees of the USA (and abroad) grappled with the challenges of redesigning work culture. Those of us who had never worked from home were often forced to work longer hours, or odd working hours to manage family life, often from our sofa, dining room chair, bar stool, and even the floor. Our ergonomic desk chairs became empty dust collectors at our work stations in dark offices.

Okay, let’s be honest, those desk chairs probably weren’t erganomically much better. Our posture suffered the most from this change as our spine alignment adjusted to poor sitting conditions. But, our posture and sore backs doesn’t have to stay that way. Here’s a list of easy and beneficial yoga poses you can do right from your desk chair, dining room chair, or bar stool. If you have the luxury of working from the floor, please feel free to do the full expression of these poses.


Cobra (Upward Facing Dog) pose

Cobra pose opens the chest, strengthens the core, and aligns the spine while lengthening the muscles in the shoulders, chest, abdominals, quads, and shins. Helps to decrease stiffness in the lower back to increase flexibility.


Tip:

Before doing any of these yoga poses in your workspace, be sure that your desk, table, our countertop can support your weight and that it, and your chair, will not slide or roll out from under you.




How to do it:

  1. Place your hands, fingers spread wide, on top of your desk or seat of your chair.

  2. Set your feet about hips-distance apart and a few steps away from the desk or chair.

  3. Stack your wrists under your shoulders.

  4. Keep your elbows tucked tightly to your sides and slightly bent.

  5. In one smooth movement, engage your core and breathe in deeply, your legs stay straight while slowly pressing your pelvis forward.

  6. Lift your chin and chest toward the ceiling.

  7. Keep your neck relaxed.

  8. Slowly exhale back to your original pose.

  9. Repeat up to 3 times.

Other Benefits:

  • Invigorates the kidneys and nervous system.

Cat/Cow

"Cat/cow" are two poses that will warm the body and bring flexibility to- and elongate the spine. These poses activate the muscles in the back, neck, and chest while stretching the mid and lower back, hips, and abdominals. When practiced slowly with deep breathing these two poses can relieve stress and calm the mind.

Tip:

If you are doing this in a desk chair with rollers, make sure to either lock the wheels or switch to a sturdy chair that won't move.





How to do it:

  1. Sit tall with a straight spine at the edge of your chair, with your hands on your knees.

  2. Beginning with the movement into "cow", slowly and smoothly begin to inhale pressing your belly forward, lifting the chest and chin upward, and slightly arching your back.

  3. Pause at the end of your inhale.

  4. Moving into "cat", begin to exhale starting to round the spine forward pulling your navel inwards and slightly tucking your chin toward your chest.

  5. Pause at the end of your exhale.

  6. This can be repeated 10 times.

Other Benefits:

  • Stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands.

  • Encourages deep breathing to stimulate the circulatory system.

Downward-Facing Dog

Much like "cat/cow", "downward-facing dog" can be done in tandem with "cobra". It promotes spinal elongation and alignment while strengthening the triceps, shoulders, and core muscles. "Down dog" also stretches the muscles through the back and legs.

Tip:

  • If you are doing this in a desk chair with rollers, make sure to either lock the wheels or switch to a sturdy chair that won't move and can support your weight.

  • You can also try this on the edge of a table or desk depending on its height.

  • If you have any shoulder injuries or a history of dislocation of the shoulder, keep your chest lifted from the floor rather than pressed down toward the floor.

  • If you have lower back problems, make sure you keep your lower back neutral (not overly arched or rounded) in the pose.

How to do it:

  1. You will want to start by placing a chair two to three feet in front of you and your feet about hip's distance apart.

  2. Inhale your arms overhead.

  3. Exhale and begin to hinge forward at the hips placing your hands firmly on the seat or back of the chair.

  4. Adjust your feet so your hips, knees, and ankles are stacked. Depending on your flexibility your knees may be slightly bent.

  5. Relax your shoulders and press your chest gently toward the floor.

  6. Tilt your pelvis upward to lengthen and align the spine making a diagonal line from your wrists to your hips.

  7. Take three or four full breaths as you continue to open your chest keeping your jaw, neck and shoulders relaxed.

  8. To come out of the pose, bend your knees and slowly walk forward toward the chair.

  9. From your hip joint come up to standing.

Other Benefits:

  • Stimulates the brain and nervous system to improve memory, concentration, hearing, and eyesight.





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