How often do you take a minute or two pause in the middle of your work day, to sit up a little straighter, and simply breathe? If I were a betting woman, I would guess that very few people pull themselves away from their computer during the 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. time slot for anything but a quick bite to eat, and maybe a bathroom break. This is not a good look. Your body is probably less than pleased.
Over time, the continuous motion of typing on a keyboard, while sitting in a chair with your shoulders hunched over and your neck at a funny angle will take a toll on you physically. You may already be experiencing symptoms such as carpal tunnel, sore and stiff trapezius muscles and lower back pain.
Your muscles are enclosed with a thin sheath of fibrous tissue called fascia. Fascia all runs all throughout your muscles like tiny little stripes, and acts as a connective tissue that stabilizes and separates muscles and other organs. These soft tissues are a lot like clay. When we sit for long periods of time, they dry up. When we hydrate and move, the soft tissue stays malleable and flexible allowing for more mobility and ease.
It only takes a few minutes out of your busy work day, to begin to reverse the painful side effects of computer usage and Monday through Friday desk life, or to ward them off altogether, and the answer is: desk yoga. Not only will your physical body be thankful, but your mind will thank you as well. The short sequence that I am going to share with you will bring flexibility, mental clarity, will allow you to re-focus, re-inspired, and will help melt away stress. So close your internet browser, put your phone on silent, and devote some time to you and your wellbeing.
1: Sit and Be
Take a comfortable seat with your hands resting on your thighs, and your feet rooted into the floor. Close your eyes, and begin to breathe in deep belly breaths. Imagine filling your body like a balloon, following your breath from the base of your spine, to the crown of your head. When thoughts surface, simply refocus your attention on your breath.
2: Side Stretch
Stand tall, root your feet into the ground and spread all ten toes. Raise both hands above your head, and reach towards the sky, creating length in your spine. Grab your right wrist with your left hand and gently pull over to your left side. Inhale, and then exhale and pull a little deeper. Repeat on your right side.
3: Forward Bend
Stand tall and slowly, deliberately fold forward from your waist, keep your knees bent and aim to rest your belly on your thighs so that you can breathe deeply, and hang here letting gravity do its work. Sway gently side to side, releasing tension in the spine.
4: Seated Twist
Sit up straight in your chair and plant your feet on the ground. Place one hand in front of you on your desk or chair, and one hand behind you. Inhale deeply, lengthen your spine, and on your exhale, twist, bringing your heart around. Switch sides.
5: Standing Thigh Stretch
Stand tall, grab your right ankle with your right hand and pull until you feel your heel touching or almost touching your behind. This pose stretches front hip and let muscles, releasing the low back.
6: Wrist Stretch
Stand, and turn your hands so that the insides of your wrists face your computer and your fingers are facing the edge of your desk. Lean away from your desk with your arms as straight as possible, while flattening your palms.
Repeat each posture for as many breaths ad you need until you feel complete, but I usually recommend at least five deep breaths. These stretches are a great start and foundation, and are also just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to explore other stretches and postures that might resonate with a particular tension in your own physical body.
To be friends with your body, is to set yourself up for success. Your body does so much for you throughout the day, don’t you think it’s time to give it a little love in return?
Emily is a Social Media Specialist at Sprocket, an avid yogi, and a 200-RYT (certified yoga instructor). Watching her own life transform through yoga ignited her passion to help others be in better alignment with their divine assignment, realize their greatness and step into their most powerful selves.