Roll up your mat and sit on your chair for a tension-relieving session. Yoga isn't just for the super flexible. Yoga is for everybody, and it's especially beneficial for anyone bound to an office desk every day.
But there's no need to wait until after work to get a good stretch. Do some any time in the comfort of your own seat. Practicing the following poses require no props other than a chair. They're designed to decrease tension in the shoulders, back, chest and neck, as well as increase relaxation and well-being.
1. Neck Stretch
Keep this one nice and gentle to ease tension in your neck without putting it at risk for injury. Only stretch as far as you can without feeling pain.
HOW TO DO IT: Sit up tall and keep your chin level as you lengthen your neck. Inhale and slowly drop the right ear toward the right shoulder, keeping the shoulder stationary. Exhale and bring your awareness to the stretch along the left side of the neck as your ear draws closer to your shoulder.
To stretch deeper, place the right hand on top of the head and press gently to the right. Take five or more deep breaths then repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
2. Shoulder Rolls
Relieve tension in your shoulders with this mobility drill.
HOW TO DO IT: While inhaling, move the shoulders forward, up toward the ears and back. On the exhale, circle the shoulders down and back, as you draw the shoulder blades closer together, then circle back to the front.
Synchronize the circular movement with slow, deep breaths. After 10 to 15 circles, repeat the motion in the opposite direction.
3. Chest Stretch
People who sit at their desk all day tend to hunch their shoulders forward, causing a stooped over posture. This chest stretch counteracts the slump.
HOW TO DO IT: Hold onto the back of the chair with both hands and step back a few feet. Drop the chest forward between your arms, puffing out the sternum and rib cage. Curl the shoulders back behind you, drawing the shoulder blades together. Take five to 10 deep breaths, stand up and repeat three times.
4. Seated Twist
Another pose to counteract the kyphotic curve is the seated twist. This massages the muscles of the upper and lower back.
HOW TO DO IT: Begin by inching forward in your chair so your back and hips are away from the backrest. Inhale and elongate your spine by sitting up straight in your chair, exhaling and twist the upper body to the right.
To deepen the stretch, place your right hand on the left corner of the backrest as you twist your spine in the same direction. Take three to five deep breaths then move back to center and repeat on the other side.
5. Side Bends
Stretch the muscles of the entire side of the torso with side-bending pose.
HOW TO DO IT: Inhale and bring both arms above your head with the palms facing each other. Grab the right wrist with the left hand. Exhale and pull the right arm up and over to the left.
You should feel a stretch down the right side of the waist. Take three to five deep breaths, then straighten your body back to center and repeat on the other side.
6. Deep Breathing
Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing while seated in your chair to calm an overactive mind and increase your focus.
HOW TO DO IT: Place your hands on either side of the rib cage below the chest. Breathe deeply and slowly. Feel the rib cage expand as you inhale and contract the breath deep into the belly as you exhale.
Set a timer for one to five minutes, close your eyes and continue until the timer goes off. Or set a number between 10 and 50 and count down from that number as you breathe.