Guilty as charged! I do a lot of work on the computer, and like so many of us, I can get caught up in what I’m working on for hours without moving or stretching my body. Here are five easy poses you can do anytime, right at your desk, to release tension and refresh.
Before doing the poses below, make sure you have mastered Good Office Chair Posture: Remove your shoes, place feet flat on the floor, and scoot forward to sit on the edge of the seat, knees hip width apart. Adjust your office chair so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Keep the spine nice and long and make sure you bring your head back in alignment with the shoulders, sitting right on top of the neck. Keep the shoulders rolled back and the chest open, resting the hands palms down on front of the thighs.
1. Anjali Mudra: The word “Anjali” sounds like “Angel”, Appropriate, as this Mudra, or Hindu hand gesture, looks like hands praying. Begin in Good Office Chair Posture. Keeping the shoulders rolled back and elbows pointed straight out to the sides, place the palms together at the center of your chest, fingers pointing upward. Play with gently pressing the hands together with opposing force, or spreading the fingers wide. Hold for 1 minute while breathing deeply through the nose. This releases tension in the wrists from typing.
2. Seated Cat/Cow: Staying in Good Office Chair Posture, place your palms down on your knees. Inhale through the nose and roll the shoulders back while gently arching the spine and opening the chest. Exhale and round the back while rolling the shoulders gently forward. Repeat 4 more times, always keeping the head level and inhaling when coming forward, exhaling when going back. This is great for releasing tension in the back.
3. Seated Twist: Staying in Good Office Chair Posture, interlace your fingers and stretch the arms up overhead, palms facing towards the ceiling. Keeping that length in the spine, exhale and release the hands, bringing your left palm to the outside of the right hip. The right palm can rest on the arm of your chair or behind you on the seat. Begin the twist from the lower spine and let the upper spine follow, and take care not to twist the neck too much farther than the chest. Hold this twist, maintaining length in the spine, for 1 minute while breathing deeply. Repeat on the other side. Twists temporarily restrict, then flow blood through the inner organs for detoxification.
4. Seated hamstring stretch: Staying in Good Office Chair Posture, raise your right foot off the ground. Take a yoga strap (a scarf or measuring tape will do, too) and loop it around the bottom of your right foot. Extend your right leg, foot flexed, straight out in front of you, playing with the resistance between the strap and sole of your foot. Repeat on the other side. This is an easy way to stretch stiff hamstrings and calves.
5. Leg Cradle: Staying in Good Office Chair Posture, raise your right foot off the ground. Gently grasp the sole of your right foot with your left hand, bringing the foot in front of the left side of your chest. Cradle your left knee in the crook of your right elbow. Gently rock your left leg from side to side, as if you are rocking a baby in your arms. Play with gently pulling your left calf closer to your chest, to stretch your right hip. Repeat on the other side.