With these 5 yoga poses to help you take back your work day, you’ll stop yourself in the moment, roll out your mat, breathe deep and feel better.
I’d like to say those things, but I can’t because I’d be lying. What I can truthfully say is that I try to have fruit or veggies with at least two or meals each day — and green peppers on pizza count. If I get three workouts in during the week — I celebrate with a slice of chocolate cake. Despite the fact that I vowed to do more reading this summer — I’ve had the same library book for four weeks and I’m only on chapter three. And sometimes I get so much anxiety that I shut everything out except old episodes of SpongeBob.
But I also try to do as much stretching and yoga as I can.
Yoga gives me an awareness to stop myself in the moment, roll out my mat, breathe deep and feel better. It may not change what’s happening around me, but it always leaves me with a refreshed point of view and a better attitude.
5 Yoga Poses to Help You Take Back Your Work Day
Rock Your Heart. This opens your chest, gets your blood moving and brings suppleness to the spine. Sit up in a comfortable chair and place your hands on your hips (a). Inhale and lift up the center of your chest. It should feel like the lift originates from your middle upper back between your shoulder blades. (b). Exhale and draw your belly button into your body and gently tuck your chin to your chest. Feel your upper back dome slightly. (c). Repeat at least five times or more.
Spine Align. This aligns the spine, and relieves tightness in the neck, shoulders and back so you’re not working so hard to sit up. Roll a blanket, scarf or towel into a thin, smooth roll. The roll should be about as long as the distance between your seat and the base of your neck (a). Vertically align the roll with your spine and place it between your back and the back of the chair. Make sure you’re sitting back in your chair to secure the base of the roll in place. (b). Lean back and feel your chest and shoulders gently open.
Counter Pose. Based on yoga’s pigeon pose, this move helps to counteract the build up of tension in your hips. Stand and face your desk, making sure that the space in front of you is clear (a). Lift your right leg and rest your outer shin, calf and knee on the desk. Your knee should be positioned slightly wider than your shoulder. (b). Place your hands on the desk to stabilize yourself. Flex your right foot, drawing your toes towards your shin. (c). Lean forward gently onto your left hand. Take your right hand to your right hip crease and let your fingers fan along the outer thigh. Press gently and rotate your thigh out and down toward the desk. Try to keep your hips even. (d). If you still feel okay, hinge forward at the hips while maintaining a flat back and walk your fingertips forward. The forward fold will further calm your mind. Switch sides.
Eagle Perch. It releases tension in your shoulders and upper back and helps you turn your focus inwards. Sit up straight. Bend your elbows and lift them straight in front of you, to shoulder height (a). Take your right arm underneath your left arm and wrap it around your left arm. Connect your palms or the back of your hands together. Alternatively, press your arms together from elbow to palm. (b). Move your elbows forward slightly and let the tops of your shoulders drop away from ears. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders, upper arms and back. Switch sides.
Bird of Prey. You’ll open up your chest and sit taller. Sit in a chair towards the front of your seat (a). Take one arm behind you, elbow bent and forearm resting against the middle of your back, parallel to the seat of your chair. Your palm should face the back of the seat. Roll your shoulder up and back toward the seat. (b). If you feel comfortable, take your other arm behind you in the same fashion. Grasp opposite elbows. (c). Gently lift your chest forward and up. Widen across the collarbones and breathe deeply.
Poses recommended by the Daily Burn
Illustration by Cody Shipman
Featured image via The Preppy Vegan