Most of us have heard that yoga is really good for our bodies, but it can be hard to find time to work a class into our schedule or shell out the money for a class. Which is why you should know some basic yoga poses if you sit all day at work, if only because you can actually break them out at work, right at your desk.
If you sit all day, you need to stretch.
Really, most research shows that sitting all day wreaks havoc on your back and your legs, even. Imagine that — you can hurt muscles simply by not using them. “There are a lot of very negative physical reactions created when the body’s not in movement. Between sitting eight hours a day and then being in the elevator looking at your smartphone, you’re totally misaligning the spine,” Vyda Bielkus, certified yoga instructor and founder of Health Yoga Life studio in Boston, told The Huffington Post.
Perfect, right? Whether you want to do some yoga at your desk or find a secret space in the breakroom to get your downward dog on, here are a few perfect poses to get your spine back in alignment. And also get your energy flowing during the midday slump.
Here are some ones to try.
1Scale Pose Variation
If you’re on a mat, you want to sit cross-legged, with your palms on the ground at your side. Sit up straight, and then lift yourself off the ground. You can also do this in your desk chair with your legs crossed or straight out. If you’re not totally lifting, that’s OK, too. Just making sure you’re sitting straight up and feeling the stretch in your arms and legs helps.
2Crescent Moon Pose
This is simpler than it sounds. If you sit at your desk, just make sure your feet are firm on the ground and hip-width apart. Reach your arms all way up, touching your palms together. Slowly bend to one side and hold. Then do it on the other. You can stand up and do this, too, if your office mates won’t judge you. It will feel so good, you might just swing back and forth all day long.
3Chair Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is amazing for your back, but sometimes, you just don’t have the time to get on the ground and twist yourself into it. Instead, sit in your chair with your feet on the ground and then bring one leg up and place it over the other knee at a proper 90 degree angle. Flex your foot and hold. If you have some privacy, you can grab the upper leg and move it in soft circles. Repeat on the other side.
Really, nothing feels better than a neck stretch, but it’s best to do it super intentionally to get the most out of it. Sit up straight and slowly bend your head to one side, using your hand to support your head. Hold. Repeat. Never stop.
5Cow Face Arms
You can just sit straight up and take one arm and twist it around your back, reaching up. Use your arm to twist around and clasp the bottom hand. If you can’t reach, just get as close as possible. Repeat by switching lower and upper arms.
6Standing Thigh Stretch
Find a place where you can stand for a bit comfortably. Use one hand to pull on leg behind your back. Raise your other hand and reach up to the ceiling. Hold it when you feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side. This will release all of that lower back tension.
When you get home from work, lay down on your floor. Bring your knees to your chest and slowly grab each big toe or foot with the corresponding hand and lift your legs up, like a baby would rolling around on the floor. Rock side to side on your back. You might look ridiculous, but this hip opener will feel so good after sitting all day. Babies know what’s up.
After a long day at work, you’re going to crave some back stretches and hip openers to make your body feel better. Just be careful!