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Yoga at Your Desk

By Edited Dec 30, 2015 0 0

If you spend long hours staring at your computer screen, try a few modified Yoga exercises to keep loose and relaxed. Don't forget to breathe; when you concentrate quietly on something for a long period of time, it's easy to let your breath become very shallow; this reduces the amount of oxygen to your brain and can make you feel sleepy and sluggish. Try a few Yoga exercises to help you stretch and refresh your brain and body. Unless otherwise instructed, sit up straight in your chair with your hips against the back of the chair; it's important to keep your spine straight, not slouched.

Shoulder Rolls

Let your arms relax so that your hands hang down at your sides. (If your chair has arms, just rest your hands in your lap.) Bring your shoulders up toward your ears and slowly roll them in a circle backward three times, then forward three times. Shake out your arms.

Alternate Arm Stretch

Breathe out completely, through your nose, then breathe in as you raise your right arm out to the side and over your head. Make a fist and push the fist up toward the ceiling. Then release, breathe out, and slowly lower the arm. (Always breathe through your nose, as it gets more oxygen to your brain.) Then repeat with your left arm, and continue alternating twice more on each side. Shake out your arms.

Easy Seated Twist

For this exercise, sit forward slightly, but still keep your spine straight. Cross your right hand over your lap and grab on to the outside of your left thigh. Hook your left arm over the back of the chair (or, if that's too difficult, simply hold on firmly to the left arm of the chair with your left hand). Breathe in, then breathe out as you slowly turn toward the left, pulling with your right hand and gently turning your head so that you are looking over your left shoulder. Hold for just a second, then release and breathe in as you turn back toward the front. Breathe out and rest. Repeat on the opposite side, then twice more on each side, alternating.

Lower Back Stretch

Put both hands on your knees; your feet should be flat on the floor. Breathe out and curl your back forward, slouching toward your knees, then breathe in as you lift your head and arch your back forward. Repeat twice more.

Side Stretch

Hold on to the side of your chair seat with your right hand. Breathe in as you stretch your left arm up over your head and breathe out as you bend it down over your right shoulder. Breathe in stretch the arm up again and breathe out as you lower the arm back to your side.  Do this three times on each side.

Ankle Stretches

Sit with hips pressed against the back of the chair and stretch both feet forward, resting your heels on the floor. (Take your shoes off if you can.) Stretch your right leg forward until it's straight, then slowly pull your toes back and then point them forward; do this several times. Repeat with the left leg. Then lift both legs and rotate your ankles in a circle a few times in each direction.

Breathe Correctly

End your session with a few deep breaths. Always breathe through your nose. Use your diaphragm to emphasize the breathing movement and to get air into the bottom part of your lungs: Breathe out and tighten your stomach muscles, then breathe in and push your stomach forward. Try to breathe in and out for approximately the same length of time. Repeat several times.

Warnings

Always check with your physician before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have neck or back problems, or chronic conditions such as high blood pressure. If you get dizzy or feel pain anywhere, stop and do not do any more until you see your doctor.

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Bibliography

  1. Alice Christensen The American Yoga Association Beginner's Manual. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.
  2. Alice Christensen The American Yoga Association's Easy Does It Yoga. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.

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