Today, yoga teacher and health coach, Beth Graham, shares a few poses for your work day. Do them individually or in sequence: they’ll improve your physical health and refresh your mind. Let’s stretch!
Downward Facing Desk Dog
Stand up and rest your hands on your desk. Step back until your ankles are directly below your knees and hips.
Focus on lengthening your spine and raising your sit bones so the pelvis tips forward. If your hamstrings or low back feel restricted, bend your knees.
Roll your outer armpits and triceps towards the floor, draw your navel in, and pull your lower ribs away from the floor to contract your core. Lift your sit bones and push your upper thighs back. Broaden your upper back and soften the skin on the back of your neck as you extend the crown of your head towards your desk. As you breathe, feel the spine lengthen.
Place your hands on your desk. Bend your knees to lengthen your quads and engage your hamstrings. Lengthen your tailbone to the floor. Pull your lower ribs down and lift your chest up to engage your core.
As you breathe, focus on releasing tension as you soften your shoulders and move them away from your ears.
Sit down. Place your feet and knees together. Squeeze your inner thighs and outer hips in towards each other. Draw your navel in and back to the spine. Lift your chest without releasing your core engagement.
Exhale and use your chair as leverage to twist to the right. Twist first from above the navel, then the shoulders, then the neck, keeping the hips square. Inhale and come back to center. Exhale and twist to the left. You can hold the twist on each side for a few breaths or flow left to right with each breath.
Seated Figure 4
Sit down. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right foot and pull the toes toward the shin. Stay here, or fold forward to deepen the stretch.
Breathe deeply. If your mind wanders off, guide it back how this pose feels. This movement can release tension in the body, and will leave you feeling calm and refreshed. Then switch, and repeat with the left ankle crossed over your right knee.
Desk Chair Forward Fold
Sit down and fold forward. Make sure your rib cage rests on your legs so your low back is supported. If this isn’t possible, skip to the next pose (the standing variation!).
Let the weight of your head act as traction to release tension in the neck. Relax your shoulders and let the arms hang. Close your eyes and relax the skin on the bridge of your nose and forehead. Take 5–10 deep breaths.
Standing Wall Forward Fold
Stand 10–12 inches from a wall and lean back to rest your hips on it. Bend your knees as much as you need so that your ribs rest on your thighs. Hold opposite elbow and let your elbows relax towards the floor. Lift your shoulders away from your ears, but keep your head hanging and your neck relaxed. Take 5–10 breaths. To release, slowly roll up through the spine.