Office Yoga: 5 Workplace Stretches to Let Go of Stress
Some days we’re stretched to the limit at work. Other days, we’re hunched over laptops in less-than-ideal working positions at home, like sitting on the couch, floor, or at a folding table in the laundry room. And during these frazzled times, it’s good to take a short break for a few minutes to channel our inner yogis, breathe deeply and relax with some office yoga – no mat necessary!
Stress in the workplace is a serious problem. It can be bad for your productivity and bad for your overall health. A healthy spine should have an “S”-shape. Unfortunately, sitting at a desk all day often causes one to slouch. And this puts the spine into an unhealthy “C” position.
By getting up and taking time to do simple stretches and yoga, you can loosen tight muscles, as well as increase blood flow and circulation. The result? A sense of tranquility and mental calm that can help to relieve work stress. Simple stretches can also prevent injury, increase range of motion in joints and improve your posture.
To get your Om on, put your computer to sleep, take a few deep breaths, and do these five stretches that will get the tension out and boost those endorphins:
- Sitting in your office chair, put both feet flat on the floor so your knees are at a 90-degree angle
- Place your hands on your knees.
- As you inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling, slowly opening the chest. This is the “cat” part.
- As you exhale, round your spine, letting your head drop forward (like a cow grazing).
- Repeat for three to five breath cycles.
- Stand up and place your feet hip distance apart.
- Turn your body perpendicular to your desk, holding it with your left hand for stability.
- Keeping your feet pressed evenly into the ground, raise your right arm up as you inhale. Then exhale as you bend your body sideways to the left.
- As you inhale, stretch your right arm taller toward the ceiling; as you exhale, deepen the stretch to the left side.
- Feel the stretch from your fingertips all the way down through your grounded feet.
- Turn and stretch to the other side.
Seated Forward Bend
- Push your chair back several feet from your desk.
- Bring both feet flat on the floor, and scoot closer to the edge of your chair.
- Interlace your fingers behind your lower back, and straighten your arms.
- Fold forward at the waist, raising your interlaced hands over your back toward the ceiling.
- Rest your chest on your thighs and release your neck.
- Stand up from your chair.
- Take both arms out to the side, parallel to the floor.
- Bring the arms forward, cross the right arm over the left, and bring the palms to touch.
- Lift your elbows to chin height as your shoulders release and slide down your back.
- Repeat with the left arm over the right.
- For a deeper stretch, gently drop your chin to your chest.
Outer Hip Stretch
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor, about hip-distance apart.
- Cross your right foot over your left knee (so your right ankle is on top of your left knee).
- Flex your right foot, and take a deep breath.
- Inhale, and lengthen your spine.
- Exhale and begin to bend your body forward.
- As you press your right foot into your hand, use your muscles to pull your right knee toward the floor. Switch legs, and repeat.
Take some time for yourself, worker bees. We promise you’ll thank us later.