17 Feb 2017

5 yoga poses you can do at your desk

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Undo some of the damage being caused by your desk-job – with these 5 yoga poses from naturopath and yoga instructor Gina Burn that you can easily do at your desk.

It’s been said that sitting is the new smoking – with studies suggesting that increased periods of sedentary behaviour, or sitting time, may contribute to the development of poor health, long-term.

Unfortunately the reality for the many that work in an office, a day sitting at a desk passes without a second thought- until we start to get back and neck aches and pains and headaches. 

1. Tadasana

Stand up! In yoga we call this Tadasana or Mountain pose. It is beneficial for spinal health overall, and does the opposite of constant sitting, which tightens the hip flexors and contracts the spine.

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2. Swaying palm tree pose

Stand with the arms stretched above the head, reaching  to the sky for 5 or so breaths then allow hands to interlace and then to stretch further up over the head. Keeping your arms against your ears take the hands over to one side – hold this position for 5 breaths. Then return to the centre, before taking the hands over to the other side of the body.   

3. Cow face arms

This can be done sitting or standing.

Begin by stretching your right arm up to the ceiling, and then bend the elbow – allowing your hand to fall between your shoulder blades.

You can then use your left hand to apply a small amount of pressure to your right elbow. If you’re a little more flexible bring your left hand behind your back, and reach it up to meet your right hand. This pose opens up the shoulders, and the chest area too.

It is also helpful for releasing tension in your fingers and hands.

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4. Ragdoll pose

Ragdoll pose, or forward bend will stretch your lower back and the back of legs.

Bow forward and allow your hands to gentle grasp their opposite elbow - then just hang out!

This pose is very relaxing for the mind and for face muscles. Open your mouth wide and close again a few times, to release tension in jaw. This position supports circulation to the back/spine/nervous system and releases pressure/pain in the lower back, a common area for computer workers.

It brings more blood to the brain and so helps improve mood, concentration, vision.

5. Back bending

Place your hands on your lower back for support and then lengthen the spine.

Look up and allow your eyes to walk backwards along the ceiling while gently leaning back into your hands (You could also do this by leaning back over a Swiss ball)

Back bending helps to counteract the constant leaning forward and rounded shoulders involved with desk work, and helps release the tension of contracted chest muscles and tight shoulders/back.

Gina’s tip

Gina says it’s best to do all of these poses in flat shoes, or bare feet, and to breathe for 5-10 breaths while holding each pose.