Office yoga may be last thing that crosses your mind when you feel like launching yourself across the workplace – nuclear missile style at your boss, armed with a loaded stapler. However when the work load seems insurmountable and the deadlines are ominously looming, taking a 10-minute breather to do office yoga is a great way to de-stress.
Of course we don’t expect you to attempt the wounded peacock, a yoga pose requiring one arm to support your entire body weight while you raise your legs skywards and disrupt your co-workers. Instead try these easier, seated poses you can discreetly do while remaining at your desk.
Besides lowering your stress levels, attempting office yoga, sometimes known as chair yoga, can help ease the pain from sore backs, stiff necks and achy shoulders as a result of bad posture.
Roll your chair back from your desk and start out by giving yourself some room to move. Ensure your butt is planted firmly on the seat and you’re ready to start.
Shoulder stretch and reverse arm hold
Purpose: To improve posture, alleviate stress and improve lung capacity
Method: With your palms facing downwards, breathe in deeply as you stretch each arm out to the side (this may take you back to your childhood to the days you used to pretend to be an aeroplane).
As you let them fall, swoop them behind your back and bend at the elbows, allowing you to clasp hands. If you are more flexible you may be able to grip your elbows or arms, but do whatever feels comfortable. Then continuing to hold hands with yourself, attempt to softly pull your hands apart without letting go. Can you feel the stretch in your shoulders? Great, you’re doing it correctly.
Inhale deeply and slowly, six or seven times before letting go.
Seated forward roll
Purpose: Strengthens core muscles and allows you to destress through deep controlled breaths
Method: Sitting up straight with your feet flat to the floor and your knees at a 90 degree angle (You may need to adjust your seat height), keeping your ab muscles tight, breathe in deeply and slowly roll forward, letting your arms fall loosely at your side, so they dangle freely between calf and ankle height depending on your flexibility. Hold for a few seconds and exhale as you sit up straight again. Repeat this unless you feel like your anger or anxiety is starting to dissipate.
Purpose: May help relieve back pain and is said to assist with digestion.
Method: Imagine you are a washing machine agitator on slow motion. Sit up straight and gripping the arm rest of your chair, slowly twist from the bottom of your spine. Only extend as far as it is comfortable for you to do so. Don’t forget to inhale deeply as you twist and exhale as you straighten up.