Office yoga - yoga at your desk

Working life can be tough, too long spent at a desk can be damaging for the body. Those lovely ladies at Qnola (breakfast favourite of mine) asked me to put together a sequence to promote wellbeing in the office for those days when you need to move your body but you cant move from the office (or maybe even your chair).

As ever, if you’ve any injuries listen to your body, go easy. You know the score.

If you would like me to come and teach in your office (maybe away from the desk and on a mat please get in touch via email)

Here we go, 10 poses to make long days at the desk better:

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Time to ground - seated mountain pose

Before we begin any of the  (mildly) fancier moves take a moment to ground, get both your feet flat on the floor, sit up tall away from the back of your chair and up your sit bones, let your hands lie flat on your thighs connect to your breath in your belly.  5 big deep breaths into the depths of your middle.  Feel better already don’t you?

2. With a twist

feeling your seat ground, feet on the floor, ease your self around to each side in turn, emphasis on the twist appearing through the spine from the belly button upward, not through the back of the hips.

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Seated Pigeon

Flexing the right toes (and keep flexing throughout to protect the knee), bring the right ankle onto of the left thigh.  Settle here for a few breaths, letting the right knee float wherever it floats - no forcing of the knee joint downwards please, as this opens out the hips and glutes. from all that sitting.  Take it to the other side when you are done.

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Upper Opener

Interlace your fingers out in front of you, turn the palms away, then inhale as you reach them up above you.  Exhale as you bring them back down in front of you.  Interlace your fingers the there way (other little finger on top) then repeat.  Go wild.  Repeat a few times.  This move creates more space in your waist and between the ribs for your breath to move in - deeper  breathes - revitalised you.

Good old Eagle arms - gets in deep between the shoulder blades where so little else can go.  Wrap your right upper arm under your left, then wrap the lower arms so the hands meet in prayer - if this isn’t accessible don not force it, maybe take a hand to the opposite shoulder and give yourself a hug).  Explore broadening your collarbones within this to expand across your chest, lift your elbows a little.  Go gently as you explore around this  point and find what your body needs.

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Neck and Shoulder spacers

Interlace your fingers behind your head.  Let your chin roll down towards your chest.  Feel the weight of your elbows hanging heavy and drawing more length through the back of the neck.. Do not pull on your head, allow gravity to do its thing, lengthening the back of the neck out.  Maybe sneak in a massage with our thumbs whilst you are in this position.  Release your hands and roll your head back up when you are done.  Go again with fingers interlaced in the other direction.

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Sitting tall through your whole spine, raise your right arm and take it over the top of your head to your left ear.  Allow the weight of the arm to draw length through the left side of your neck. No pulling, just working with gravity.  Let your left arm extend out to side slowly.  Breathe and observe the sensations that arise.  To come out of this position - whilst keeping your head still -  bring your right hand to your right ear, then use the strength of the arm to right it on top of your shoulders.  Repeat the other side to ease out neck, shoulder and jaw tensions.

The side stretch

Left hand gently holds right wrist as you extend through the right side.  Maintaining the length still in the left side (i.e. not collapsing through that side).  Can be down seated or bring yourself up to stand.  Whichever you choose, feel rooted into the points of contact on the floor or chair.  Explore slowly around the stretch, maybe small twists to open the chest to the ceiling or toward the floor?  Juicy yeah?

Wrist love

Stand next to the desk, place your hands on it, palms upwards, fingers towards you, bend the elbows a little and explore moving a little, with only a little pressure down through the hands, to open up and relive tension in the forearms and wrists.  Then turn palms down and repeat.  

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Hot Palming

Rub your hands together until they become warm.  Then place the warm palms over those over tired screen eyes.  Let your eyes look up at the space at between your eyebrows to completely soften out eye muscles.  Stay as long as you like.  Maybe reheat your hands with a rub and return to the dark bliss. 

Desk Savasana

The ultimate office restore.  Eyes close, forehead rests on the back of your forearms.  Deep breaths into the back of your body.   Time for the rest of practice to settle into your body (probably not a pose for an open plan office but great for freelancers - maybe take position 1 again if you are in an open “very traditional” environment))

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Pip Roberts