Everybody is probably guilty of uttering the phrase ‘work is killing me’ every now and then, but for some people that saying may actually be true! Anyone who sits behind a desk all day (or anywhere else really—it’s not your desk’s fault!) runs the risk of seriously doing harm to their health. Sitting for too long and leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to blood clots, Type 2 Diabetes, increased risk of heart disease and even early death, so it’s important to get up and get your blood flowing during the work day. Taking small breaks throughout the day for small physical activities—such as the following yoga poses—can make a big difference!
Sitting Eagle with Forward Bend
Start sitting in your chair and move your right ankle onto your left knee. Cross your right arm over the left arm at the elbows and raise your forearms upward, with the fingers of the left hand in the palm of your right hand with your thumbs pointing at your face. Lift your arms upward as you take a breath focusing in your upper back. Bend forward at your hips, keeping your back straight, with your upper body bent at about a 45 degree angle. Breathe deeply and bring your body upright on an inhale and then disengage. This pose stretches the upper back and hips.
Start in a standing position with your big toes touching and your arms resting at your sides, then bring your left leg back as far as you can while still keeping your heel completely rooted to the floor. Your foot should be at about a 45 degree angle. Bend your right knee over your right ankle, while keeping your hips pointed forward. Inhale and bring your arms straight up above your head and bring your palms together. Bend your back slightly and gaze up at your fingertips. This pose stretches the muscles of your upper body to improve circulation and opens your heart.
Start in a standing position then separate your feet so they are wide but comfortably apart. Turn the right foot out to about a 90 degree angle, and turn your left foot slightly in (about 15 degree angle). Make sure that the centre of your right heel is aligned with the arch of your left foot, and make sure your weight is equally balanced between both feet. Inhale deeply and on the exhale, bend at your waist to the right, keeping your waist straight and your arms straight out from your body. Your left hand should be up in the air, with your right hand down towards the floor. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right, whichever is most comfortable for you without moving the sides of your waist. Turn your head to the left and gaze up at your left palm. Take a few deep breaths, and on an inhale, come up and bring your arms back to your side and your feet back together. Repeat with the other side. This pose stretches the hips, groin, hamstring, calves, shoulders, chest and spine.
Aside from the benefit of getting your body moving, yoga is also mentally invigorating and can help relieve stress, making these poses even better for trying out at work!