It’s no secret that sitting at a desk for hours each workday is not the best thing for our bodies.
“From a posture standpoint, it weakens the legs, can cause tight hips and low back pain, and stiff shoulders and neck,” said Michael Gervais, director of group programming for Equinox. “These are the biggest complaints we see these in our classes, and much of what we do in Western yoga is to counter the effects of this lifestyle.”
The good news is that doing small movements at your desk, even while seated, can make a difference.
“At minimum, you should stand and move around once an hour,” Gervais said.
Ready for a stretch break? Try these five yoga moves from Gervais to break up your workday.
1. Standing cat/cow
Use the side of the desk to arch and curl the spine. Inhale arch the spine, exhale round the spine, five to 10 deep breaths.
A standing cat/cow pose is demonstrated.
2. Standing twist
Use the desk or a wall as leverage and take three big breaths in a twist to each side.
A standing twist pose is demonstrated.
3. Crescent lunge variation
Put one leg behind you, then reach up with that same arm to stretch the front of the hips. Three breaths each side.
A crescent lunge variation pose is demonstrated.
4. Chair pose variation
With your feet touching, lift your butt a few inches off your chair, so your legs are working.
A chair pose variation pose is demonstrated.
Lift your chest and either keep your hands at your hips, or reach them overhead. Either way, keep opening across the shoulders. Five to 10 breaths.
It should feel like work for the legs.
5. Standing forward fold variation
With the feet hip distance apart, clasp your fingers behind the back and fold forward over the legs.
A standing forward fold variation pose is demonstrated.
Focus on squeezing your wrists together and opening across the chest. Let your head hang. Five breaths. Come out slowly.