30-Minute Lunchtime Yoga Flow

30-Minute Lunchtime Yoga Flow
By the time lunch hour rolls around, you may have already endured a marathon of meetings, sifted through a pile of work, and generally gotten so much accomplished, you should feel productive and amazing. But for many of us, you have to do it all over again after lunch to complete your workday.

Learn to use your lunch hour to reset your mind and body for the busy afternoon ahead. Instead of heading out to lunch with coworkers or eating at your desk, grab the work clan and recharge with yoga, instead. Yoga is like a moving meditation. Not only does it allow you to exercise every major muscle group in the body, but it also allows you to connect with your breath, body, and mind. A slower-paced flow is the perfect respite to counter the bustling activity of the workday. Plus, you won’t get sweaty or need to hit the shower if you keep the pace slow and simple.

Get a few colleagues to join you and use this routine to start a lunchtime yoga club at work. This particular flow is based on the sun salutations or Surya Namaskar.

Breathing and Centering: 3 Minutes

Start in a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Allow your awareness to come to your breath and body. Scan your body from head to toe, and recognize where you might find signs of stress or discomfort. Set the intention to let that go.

Focus on your breath and start inhaling from the lower abdomen, allowing the air to fill to the mid-belly and finally the chest. As you exhale, start from the chest, go to the mid-belly and then lower abdomen. Upon the exhalation, feel your belly button move in toward the spine. You are breathing through the nose with the lips closed. As you inhale your belly expands and as you exhale, your belly contracts. Continue this way for eight to 10 cycles of the breath.

Warm Up: 3 Minutes

In a seated position, open your eyes. Sitting cross-legged or in half-lotus pose, reach both arms in front of you on the floor and allow your torso to come forward. Lower your head down and take five deep breaths.

As you come up to sitting, roll both shoulders back four times and forward four times. Switch the cross of your legs. Place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and place your right hand on the floor behind you. Open the right shoulder into a twist. Look over your right shoulder and breathe. Hold for five deep breaths. Switch sides and twist to your left.

Yoga Flow: 20 Minutes

standingmountainpose130x130.jpgTadasana (Standing mountain pose) Come to a standing position with the feet together and the big toes touching. Bring your hands to your heart center with your palms together in prayer posture. Close your eyes and breath in and out deeply.

skyreachingpose130x130.jpgHasta Uttanasana (Sky reaching pose) Inhale, bring the arms down, around, and up; palms touch as you reach for the sky and take a slight backbend. Hold it here for a couple of breaths.

Pada Hastasana (Hand to foot pose with deep knee bends) Open the arms and swan dive forward bringing your hands to your feet. Bend the knees slightly if you can’t touch your toes. Here, you will pause and take three deep knee bends. Bend deeply at the knees with your hands on the floor and then straighten the legs as much as you can. Repeat three times.

equestrianpose130x130.jpgAshwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) With your hands still on the floor, bring your right leg back into a lunge with the knee off the floor. Hold it here for a few breaths. Lower the knee to the floor in a reverse lunge or what I refer to as a “bowing horse pose.” With the right leg back, your left leg lengthens in front as you sit slightly back and bow forward over the left leg. After a few breaths, come back into your equestrian posture and reach both arms up to the sky.

downwarddog130x130.jpgAdho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose) Place both hands on the floor and step back into a downward-facing dog pose. In this pose, you will pump the heels up and down like you’re pedaling on a bike to stretch your calves.

plankpose150x150.jpgChaturanga Dandasana (Plank pose) From downward-facing dog, come into a plank pose. If plank is too difficult, lower your knees to the floor. Hold for three breaths. To challenge yourself, lower and lift your knees five to eight times while holding plank.

cobrapose150x150.jpgBhujangasana (Cobra pose) Lower onto your belly and bring your fingers slightly behind your shoulders. Place elbows in toward the torso and make sure your feet touch and stay on the floor as you lift your head, shoulders, and upper chest off the floor. Hold for three breaths. You should feel cobra in your triceps and lower back.

Balasana (Child’s pose) From cobra pose, push back into child’s pose. Sit your bottom on your heels. If your knees or hips are tight, open the knees wide apart. With your arms outstretched forward, stay there for a few breaths.

Equestrian pose right foot forward Come onto all fours and bring the right foot forward. Lift the left knee off the floor and hold the low lunge for a few breaths for strengthening just as you did with the right leg back. Repeat the reverse lunge or bowing horse then shift forward into a lunge with the left knee on the floor. Reach your arms toward the sky.

huggingknees130x130.jpgHand to foot pose while hugging knees to chest From lunge pose, bring both hands to the floor and step the left foot forward. While bent forward, reach around the backs of your knees and hug your knees toward your chest. If this is difficult, bend your knees a little. Allow your head to come forward to release tension from your neck. Hold for three to four breaths.

skyreachingpose02-130x130.jpgHasta Uttanasana (Sky reaching pose) Reach both arms up overhead and take your slight backbend, with the palms touching, as you look toward the sky.

Pranamasana (Salutation pose) Bring the arms down around and back to your heart space.

Repeat the entire sequence four to six times.

Cool Down and Relaxation Pose: 4 Minutes

Come down to the floor on your mat lying on your back. Bring both knees to your chest and gently rock side to side, left to right and back again. Holding on to both knees, rotate the knees in a circle in one direction as you press your lower back to the floor. Repeat four times. Rotate the knees in the opposite direction.

With your feet on the floor and the knees bent or with the legs elongated, lie in relaxation pose (Savasana) with your eyes closed and observing your breath. Stay in this pose for two minutes.

Once you get the hang of the routine, try to incorporate it 3-5 times per week. Notice how your mood changes at work, and how the stress, aches, and pains from sitting at your desk lighten up as you incorporate more yoga into your day.

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*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.