Long hours sitting at our desks, hunched over and working on our computers tend to take its toll on our bodies. We’ve all suffered from a strained neck, shoulder and back muscles at some point. This often leads to tension and stiffness and, over time, a less than optimal posture. There are many days when we cannot seem to spare enough time after a long day’s work to attend an entire fitness or yoga class, but you can practice simple poses at your work station.
No Time for a Yoga Class? Try Desk Asanas!
Below are a few simple asanas (yoga poses) that you can practice while sitting at your desk to open your shoulders and hips, increase your flexibility, and lengthen your spine.
They don’t demand much time and can be done throughout the day, sparing you from unnecessary discomfort in the long run. If you are wearing tight, uncomfortable footwear remove them before starting the stretches. You may also wish to loosen your tie and belt.
It is easy to work on shoulder openers while at your desk. Bend one arm at the elbow, reach it behind your back, and work your hand up towards your neck. Bend the other arm at the elbow and reach back to clasp your hands. If you have tight shoulders, you can use a prop (in this case a ruler!) to open your shoulders and work towards bringing your hands closer together. When doing this on both sides, you may notice that one side is more flexible than the other, which is a good indication of which side needs more attention.
Seated Eagle Pose
Another effective shoulder opener is a seated eagle pose. Hook the right elbow under the left and wrap the hands so that your palms meet. Work on getting the shoulders to stay away from the ears while also raising your elbows to deepen the stretch. Try this on the other side by hooking the left elbow under the right.
Staff Pose (dandasana)
Find your staff pose (dandasana) by engaging your core muscles, lengthening your back, and keeping your neck in a neutral position. This pose helps improve posture and strengthens the back
Then, bend your knees and press them against one another to come into your seated twists, which help keep your spinal muscles mobile.
Hip Stretch (piriformis stretch)
From a seated position, raise one leg and place the ankle just underneath the other knee and feel your hips begin to open. Without touching the raised knee, try to keep pushing it down towards the floor.
Assisted Half Forward Fold (ardha uttanasana)
Lastly, come into an assisted half-forward fold (ardha uttanasana) by folding forward until your legs and torso form a 90-degree angle, while grabbing a hold of your desk. Feel your back lengthen and your spine start to decompress.
Try these throughout your day and you will find your aches and pains will decrease. Consistency is key. A little trick is to set your alarm every hour to remind you to stop for a few minutes and stretch yourself out.
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