One of the most challenging aspects of practicing yoga for many people is fitting the practice into a hectic schedule. Fortunately, even a little yoga has physical and emotional benefits. You can fit in a ten minute practice in the morning and even a two or three minute practice at work.
If you work at a desk all day, you may experience pain or tension in the back and shoulders. Slouching or bending forward over your work all day long puts strain on the neck, shoulders and back. Over time, this can lead to pain.
A few quick yoga poses in your office during lunch is the perfect counterbalance to a morning spent slouching over your work. Really any pose or stretch that gives a slight backbend is great for countering the forward slouching problem.
Stand next to your desk in Mountain pose. Place your hands behind your back at the top of your buttocks with the fingers pointed to the floor. Inhale and on the exhalation, begin to bend your spine backwards. Start off with a light backbend and move into the pose with each breath.
You can do side bends to the left and then the right. Breathe and raise the arms over the head. Elongate the body and on the exhalation breath, begin to bend to the side. Return to standing and bend to the other side.
Modified forward bends can be done in your desk chair. Sit straight in the chair and inhale. On the exhalation breath, begin to bend forward letting your torso fall over your legs and your head move toward the floor. Relax your upper body and let your head drop forward. This is good for increasing energy to counter the typical after lunch slump in energy.
Seated twists are easy to do at the desk and are great for releasing tension from the spine and back muscles. Sit in your chair, facing forward with your feet on the ground and torso elongated. Inhale and on the exhalation, begin to twist to the right. Use the arms and back of the chair to help you move deeper into the twist with each exhalation and elongate the sides of the waist with each inhalation.
Hold the pose for about thirty seconds. Move out of the pose and return to facing forward. Take a few breaths, relax and repeat the twist on the left side of the body. Whether you are doing side bends, back bends, twists or any other pose, repeating the movements on each side of the body is important for a balanced practice. This is true, regardless of the length of the practice.
At the end of your short desk practice, take a few minutes for relaxation pose. Of course, you provably won’t want to lie down in corpse pose in the middle of the office, but you can still relax. Sit in your chair and close your eyes. Keep your hands in a neutral position and breathe. Focus on relaxing the body and clearing the mind for a moment or two. This is great for relieving stress and clearing your mind, which will help you focus when you return to your project.