The most important part of yoga is focusing on your breath. Yogis like to call it a ‘moving meditation’. This is why yoga at your desk can be as simple as taking a few moments to focus on you and to take a few concentrated inhalations and exhalations. Breathing comes so naturally to us, thank goodness, that we often don’t give it a second thought. But when we do and we concentrate on nice, deep, full inhalations and exhalations, it’s pretty amazing how much our body instantly relaxes, our mind instantly calms and stressful situations or problems seem to become much more manageable.
Along with forgetting to breathe, we often find ourselves hunched over a keyboard or our phones and sitting at our desk for long periods of time without even moving anything but our fingers. It’s important for blood circulation, energy levels and overall mental health to insert some movement periodically throughout the day.
Focus on Your Breath
-Sit in your chair so that you can lengthen and straighten your back, sitting up tall.
-Shoulders should be out of the ears and down the back (to get here you can first shrug the shoulders to the ears and then relax them down the back).
-Your feet should be flat on the ground, legs at a 90 degree angle.
-Close your eyes and take a deep, steady breathe in, imagining a wave of air filling up your stomach then lungs. Now exhale all of that air out of the stomach then the lungs. Repeat 3-5x at your own pace.
-Stay in the same seated position with eyes open or closed.
-Right ear to right shoulder rolling the head down, chin down, and across the front of the body to the left and back again to the right. REMEMBER: do this slowly, you never want to go too fast when stretching out the neck. Repeat 3-5x.
-Then switch, left ear to left shoulder rolling the head back, chin comes up, and across the back of the body from right to left and back again to the left. Repeat 3-5x.
-Stay in the same seated position, sitting up tall, with eyes open or closed.
-Shrug the shoulders up to the ears and then down the front of the body and back up to the ears. Repeat this 3-5x.
-Reverse by shrugging the shoulders up to the ears and down the back of the body and back up to the ears. Repeat 3-5x.
-Open your eyes if they weren’t already and stay in the same seated position, sitting up tall.
-Take your left hand and either put it on your right knee or lightly grab your desk, reaching to the right side.
-Grab the back of your chair with the right hand.
-Inhale as you straighten the back and exhale as you twist. This may be slight but the point is to just feel a nice stretch in the spine, particularly the upper back. Take a few breaths and then do the same thing on the left side.
Seated Side Stretch
-Stay in the same seated position, sitting up tall with feet on the floor.
-Gently grab the left side of your chair with the left hand.
-Inhale as you extend your right arm in the air.
-Exhale as you bring your right arm over the right ear and bend to the left feeling a stretch in your right side.
-For a deeper stretch you can take your right wrist in your left hand and give it a light tug to the left and/or put a slight or big bend in the arm that’s holding onto the chair.
-You can either look up or look to the side, whichever feels best for your neck.
-Take a few breaths here and then repeat on the left side.
-Sit back in your chair.
-Start to bring your right leg up, crossing the right ankle over the left knee (the left foot should still be on the floor with the knee bent).
-Start to pick up the heel on the left foot. The higher you pick it up, the more you should feel a stretch in the outside of the right leg. You may also push lightly on your right knee to get a deeper stretch but don’t push it too far.
-Take a few breaths and then switch and do the same thing on the left side.
You can also do some standing or balancing poses using the chair as a support. After all your movements just back to a simple seated position with feet on the floor, hands in the lap or gently on the thighs, straight spine, shoulders down the back and eyes closed. Take at least one minute to completely focus on deep inhalations and exhalations again, feeling the wave of air entering and filling up you up then flowing out.
Smile big, open your eyes and conquer your day!