Refresh at Your Desk

Working a typical day at the office, many of us experience a mid-afternoon slump.  It usually involves brain fog, a lack of motivation or ability to concentrate and an overall feeling of sluggishness. Perhaps you’re regretting that sub sandwich you had for lunch about now, and you’re feeling an itch to go pay Starbucks for one of their 500% marked up coffee drinks?

We’ve got 5 easy yoga tricks for getting your motor going again naturally and to snap out of feeling like a zombie.  Try this sequence anytime you’re feeling like “The Blob”. Remember that the breath is VERY important…pay attention to the instructions on when to inhale and when to exhale.  You can do this entire sequence seated at your desk.

1) Nadi Breath:  Breathing through one nostril at a time is the perfect way to slow down and lengthen your breath so you can perk up and oxygenate your body.  In this exercise, the breath coming in the right nostril refreshes and tones the energy of the left side of the body, and vice versa.  There are two main channels of energy running down the left and right sides of your body called the “Nadi”.  Using deep, cleansing breath you can re-energize (or calm down!) your entire body.  Close the middle 3 fingers of your right hand into a loose fist but leave your thumb/pinky free, making a “hang ten” sign with your hand.  Sitting up straight in your chair (don’t use the chair back to prop you up) with your feet flat on the floor, bring your hand up near your face and press your right thumb to your right nostril.  Inhale deeply through your left nostril, then close your left nostril with your right pinky and exhale out your right nostril.  Keeping your left nostril closed with your right pinky, inhale through your right nostril again, switch to closing your right nostril with your thumb and exhale out the left nostril. Basically, you switch nostrils on every exhale.  Try this for 1-3 minutes.  It can often be done when you’re nodding off in a meeting if you can keep your breath quiet and your movements subtle.  🙂

2) Seated Side Stretch:  Sitting up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, reach your arms up overhead and grasp your right wrist with your left hand, right palm facing forward.  Inhale deeply, lift the ribcage and resist letting your  right shoulder drop forward and down. Gently pull with your left hand, feeling an opening down the entire right side of the body, and exhale.  Keep lifting, opening and stretching, along with deep breaths, for 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

3) Seated Half Eagle: Sitting up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, raise your arms straight in front of you until they are shoulder level.  Bend your right arm so it’s at 90 degrees…now bend your left arm so it’s at 90 degrees as well.  Stack your left elbow on top and in the the crook of your right elbow. then gently try to “wrap” your left forearm around the right forearm and try to touch your palms partially together. Inhale deeply, and gently try to raise your elbows slightly above shoulder level, then exhale and gently try to reach your palms forward, expanding in the stretch.  You should feel an opening across your shoulders and upper back. Repeat one more time then gently release the arms down.  Switch sides so that you’re stacking the right elbow on top and in the crook of your left elbow. Perform 2 times on the opposite side.

4) Seated Hip Opener: Place your right foot on top of your left knee, so that looking down at your legs, you see them forming the number “4” (but with the bottom/left leg bent with foot placed on the floor.  Sitting up tall, inhale deeply, exhale and fold your upper body foward and over as far as you can go.  You should feel a delicious stretch in the hips, any area where a lot of energy tends to get stored or blocked.  Repeat a few more times and then switch legs.

5) Knee Hug Set: Sit up straight on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor.  Inhale, bend your right leg and wrap your arms around your right knee, hugging it tight into your chest.  Resist slupming and keep your spine long and tall.  Keep the shoulders rolled back and down and the heart center open.  Hug tight and exhale. Inhale and release/lower your right legt.  Hug your left knee into your chest and exhale all the way to the bottom of your breath.  Inhale as you release your left leg down.  Keep repeating hugging in your knee on alternate sides for 1-2 minutes.  Engage your core muscles to support you.  This will get the blood flowing into the back and heart center and engages the mind as your alternate your attention between the right and left sides.

Posted in Office Yoga, Yoga Poses