Yoga at your desk.
By Rosanna Gordon
In an ideal world, you’d switch off your computer at 12 o’clock sharp and skip happily off to your yoga class, enjoying a good 45-60 minute stretch before returning to your desk feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. But sometimes, it’s just not possible – your colleague asks a ‘no easy answer’ question just as you’re about to grab your coat, papers are stacking up fast and you’ll be working overtime as it is or your boss schedules a last minute meeting you need to attend. Any chance of a lunch hour goes flying out the window, but 10 minutes, yes 10 minutes you can manage (and really feel the need for)…
Here are a few key stretches you can practise at your desk for a smoother running afternoon:
GARUDASANA (EAGLE ARMS)
Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Cross your right arm over your left, one elbow on top of the other. Bend your elbows so the back of your hands meet. Either stay here, or if there’s more flexibility, hold your right thumb with your left hand or bring the palms of your hands together. Take your arms away from your front body, lifting them slightly and dropping the shoulder blades down your back. Squeeze your forearms together to open the back of your shoulders and focus your gaze on one point in front of you.
Hold for 3-5 breaths or gently raise your arms, inhaling and lower your arms exhaling at a steady. Repeat crossing left arm on right
Benefit: stretches the upper back and shoulders, improves focus and concentration
Extension: practise eagle arms whilst squatting on a wall to strengthen your legs and core
SEATED MARJARYASANA (CAT STRETCH)
Come to sit at the front of your office chair, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the top of your thighs. Inhale, roll your shoulders back, lift and open your chest, broadening your collarbones and raising your chin slightly. Exhale slide your hands closer to your knees, round your back, tuck your tailbone under and your chin into your chest.
Repeat 5 to 10 rounds
Benefit: increases back flexibility and relieves back pain, opens the chest, improves mood
STANDING LATERAL STRETCH
Come to standing, feet hip width distance and extend your arms overhead. Interlace the fingers and turn palms up to ceiling. Inhale to lengthen, grounding through your feet and exhale bring your torso over to the right, keeping the outer edge of your left foot grounded and neck long so the ear isn’t collapsing to the shoulder. Feel the length in your side body. Inhale, draw navel to spine and come back to centre and on an exhale move over to the left.
Repeat 3 rounds
Benefit: strengthens your core, lengthens and stretches side body, grounding
Modification: Place right hand on side of thigh, raise left arm to ceiling. Inhale lengthen and exhale slide right hand down leg for a simpler side stretch. Repeat on both sides
Notice how you feel after practising the poses in body and mind. And who knows, perhaps next week there’ll be more time and you’ll make it to your full-length yoga class. Yoga really can be short and sweet or longer, depending on your schedule.
If you are lucky enough to get away from your desk at lunchtime, we have classes running daily, Monday-Thursday. To find your nearest Yin Yan Yoga Class in Liverpool city centre here!
And if you can't get away, then please do try our suggested poses, send your best attempts to our twitter page @YinYanUk and we will publish the best ones!