Do you feel like you’re hitting a wall in the middle of the workday or notice that you’re tense after a long class? Try a movement break instead of reaching for the caffeine or an extra snack! Movement breaks do not have to be intensive, it can be as simple as chair yoga. This activity allows us the time to stretch, take in the fresh oxygen, refresh, and give our bodies a break from sitting in the same position too long.
Desk chair yoga is simple, fun, and you can do it anywhere! Here are some easy stretches to do next time you feel like you need a quick break:
1: Desk Yoga Seated Crescent Moon: Begin by lifting your arms overhead, connecting the palms, and stretching your fingers wide. Gently lean to one side for 2-3 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. The Crescent moon pose gives a deep stretch to your sides, lengthening your spine and allowing you to return to your work with better concentration.
2: Chair Pigeon: While seated, place one leg over the other at a 90-degree angle, flexing the foot so as not to put pressure on the knee. Remain upright, keeping an even distribution on both seat bones. When you feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the upper outer thigh, hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side. The seated pigeon pose helps us regain the balance we sometimes lose sitting in our desk chairs while opening the hips and chest.
3: Sit and Stand Chair Pose: Begin seated with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Pressing down with your heels and using your legs and glutes only, make your way to standing. Sit back down slowly, using your leg muscles without shifting the hips from side to side. This pose can help awaken the hamstring and glute muscles that become weakened over time from sitting in a desk chair.
4: Desk Yoga Upward Dog: Keeping the arms straight, lean your hips towards the desk, opening the chest as you do so. Keep the legs engaged to prevent the lower back from sinking. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths. Keep the core engaged and exhale as you fold at the hips to release, creating a 90-degree angle. This pose helps open the chest and lengthen the spine, improving posture.
Please see this link for photos illustrating these and additional poses.