Take a break from work and combat the negative effects of sitting with these yoga poses that you can do at your desk.
It’s no secret that sitting for long periods of time is bad for you. In fact, sitting is being called the “smoking” of this generation. We’re averaging about 9.3 hours per day sitting, and after about 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burns fat declines by as much as 90 percent. Research also shows that extended periods of sitting slow the body’s metabolism.
What’s an office-bound, chair dweller to do?
You can try convincing your boss to get you a standing desk or a treadmill desk. Short walks around the office every hour and walking meetings are also good options. Perhaps your best bet, however, is to sprinkle a few minutes of chair yoga throughout the day.
Chair yoga is a gentle form of yoga that you can do while sitting in a chair, or while standing and using a chair for support. Chair yoga is slowly being recognized as a distinct type of yoga such as Anusara or Ashtanga yoga. The Asanas or postures are often adaptations of Hatha yoga poses.
The following basic poses can be performed in 10 minutes or less and will help you get started on your path to a less sedentary workday.
Chair Yoga Postures
- Raise your right arm slowly over your head, gently stretching at the shoulder.
- As you fully extend your arm, feel the stretch along your side.
- As you lower your right arm, raise your left arm over your head, stretching at the shoulder.
- Alternate one arm and then the other breathing easily with each extension.
- Repeat 3 to 5 times per side.
- With your hands over your head and arms extended, slowly bend forward from the waist.
- Gradually bring your hands to the floor next to your feet.
- Let your head relax between your knees.
- Rest your abdomen on your thighs and breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your breath to massage your organs.
- After a few breaths, slowly come up one vertebra at a time.
- Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
- Place your left hand on your right thigh.
- Reach behind you with your right hand and grasp the chair, using it to assist a rotation in your spine to the right.
- Keep your head aligned with your spine and remember to breathe.
- Hold for a couple of breaths.
- Release and repeat on the other side.
- Sit up straight with your bottom on the edge of the chair. Stretch your arms out straight behind you and place both hands on the either side of the chair, grasping the back of the chair.
- Inhale slowly and deeply, lifting your chest both forward and upward, arching the lower back.
- Extend your neck and stretch from the lower back.
- Hold for two breaths and then relax.
- Repeat three times.
- Grasp below your right knee with both hands.
- On your exhalation, pull your knee up to your chest, feeling the stretch in the hip and thigh.
- Drop the shoulders back and down, lift the chin and pull the knee closer into the chest.
- Hold for several breath cycles and then repeat on the opposite side.
Guided Chair Yoga: Watch a guided chair yoga video for more details