5 Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk


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Yoga at Work


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For many of us, our aches and pains aren’t badges of pride from the basketball court or the soccer field; they’re the depressing outcome of long hours hunched over a computer. As a result, we suffer low back pain, tight hips, stiff wrists and neck, and tense shoulders. Yet one way to ease the literal pain of a desk job is to integrate yoga into your workday.

Don’t worry, we know you don’t have room for a mat in your cubicle. Even if you never leave your seat, doing few simple stretches at your desk can help open up your body. It can also calm your mind before a meeting or presentation, and may even spark your creativity!

FIVE DESK POSES

    1. The arm position of Eagle (pictured) can counterbalance shoulder and neck strain from sitting in front of a computer. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and drop your right arm under your left. Bend your elbows, then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands and try to get your palms as close to touching as possible. (Release and repeat on the opposite side.)
    2. You can do Seated Twist while sitting in your office chair to release muscles in your back that stiffen after you’ve been stuck in a seated position for hours. On an inhale, raise your left arm to the ceiling. On an exhale, twist to the right. Your left palm should push against the outside of your right thigh. Reach behind your body with the right hand and place it on the back of your desk chair for leverage. With each inhale twist more deeply into the pose. Never lead the twist with your head. Lead with the heart; your head should be the last part of your body to turn. Inhale to lengthen your spine and rotate farther as you exhale. (Release and repeat on the other side.)
    3. You can open up your spine with a gentle seated Backbend. On an inhalation, reach your arms up to the ceiling and open them wide. As you exhale, extend your back and upper chest up and over the back of your chair. (Pro Tip: Plant both feet on the floor and lean back slowly, to ensure your chair doesn't tip over with you in it!)
    4. Use your desk to help open up tight shoulders. Stand a few feet from your desk, then hinge at your hips, touching your hands to the edge of your desk until you form a 90-degree angle. Drop your head and chest between your arms to relax and stretch the shoulders.
    5. Open up tight hip flexors with seated Pigeon Pose. While seated in your chair with both feet flat on the floor, bring your right leg up and place your ankle or lower leg just above your left knee, with your right leg turned out and the knee flexed at about a 90-degree angle. Keeping your right foot flexed, hinge at your hips until you feel a stretch in your right outer thigh. Repeat on the other side.