Your body is designed for movement. That’s why sitting at a desk all day can cause fatigue, eyestrain and serious musculoskeletal problems.
To begin a yoga practice you do not need to run off to an ashram, change your life style, pierce your nose, or stand on your head. You don’t even have to leave your office to begin enjoying the benefits of a yoga practice on a daily basis. Practicing these simple and practical techniques at work will help reduce stress, improve posture, relieve pain, and enhance mental clarity. You might even find yourself experiencing a more positive attitude!
Let us begin with the most important defense against fatigue and stress, which is Posture. The first step is awareness. Do you find yourself hunched over your computer with your shoulders rounded and your chin jutting out in front of you? If so, the first thing you will want to do is lift your sternum and feel your collarbones widening to opposite sides of the room. Allow your tailbone to gently draw down toward the floor and imagine yourself growing long and tall right out through the top of your head. On a deep inhale imagine your soft palette rising as your neck begins to lengthen and on a deep exhale feel your shoulders and arms begin to release and melt down towards the floor. Let your arms simple dangle by your sides. Visualize your head gently floating on top of your spine. Soften your face muscles, your jaw and your gaze.
Now that you have aligned yourself you will be able to breath more deeply. Take long, slow breaths with your eyes closed. Fill your torso completely. Say inhale to yourself when you inhale and exhale to yourself when you exhale (or simply in and out). Take five to seven long deep breaths. Inhale expanding your belly, ribs then heart center. Exhale heart, ribs and belly. Notice how your mind begins to quiet as your body begins to energize and recharge.
Gentle Neck Stretch
Sit with your sternum lifted and your feet firmly planted on the floor. You can let your arms release by your sides or hold on to the sides of your chair. Inhale and as you exhale bring your right ear towards your right shoulder. Begin to rock you head slowly and easily forward and back four times continuing to breathe normally. Then keeping your head tilted to the right lower your chin down towards your chest. Take your right hand and place it over the top of your head with your fingertips pointing down towards the back of your neck. Gently lower your chin a bit closer to your heart center using the weight of your hand to encourage it (without force). Then draw your opposite shoulder (left shoulder) down towards the floor. You should feel a nice deep stretch on the left side of your neck and even down into your shoulder. Hold for a count of five breathing normally. Release. Allow your head to come back to center. Take a few long deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Yoga for the eyes
The strain of staring at a computer screen for long periods of time takes its toll on the eyes causing visual problems, blurring, itching and aching.
Try these yoga eye exercises for some relief:
Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Bring your gaze to the tip of your nose and hold for a slow count of 10-15. Try not to blink. Then close your eyes and rest for a couple long deep breaths. Bring your gaze to the space between your eyebrows (third eye center) and hold for a count of 10-15. Try not to blink. Close your eyes and take a couple long deep breaths. Without turning your head gaze to the left with both eyes and hold for a count of 12. Try not to blink. Close your eyes and rest for a couple of deep breathes. Repeat this gazing to the right, then up and then down resting with your eyes closed in between. Be sure to breathe normally throughout. Next, make big slow circles with your eyes going clockwise first. Look to the left, up, right, down and then left again. Make big, full circles and then close your eyes and rest breathing deeply. Repeat counterclockwise
Cow Face Pose
This pose has a funny name but will help relieve shoulder tension and improve posture. Sit comfortable and take a couple long deep breaths. Raise you right arm up toward the ceiling and bend it at the elbow. Let your fingertips rest on the back of your neck or upper back with your palm facing down. Take your left arm and without lifting it bend it at the elbow and rest the back of your hand on your back with fingers pointing toward your head as much as you can comfortably. The hands do not have to touch. Feel your heart center lifting and expanding as you take three or four deep breaths. Keep the shoulders as relaxed as possible. Release and breathe deeply. Repeat on the other side. (It is best not to practice this pose if you have rotator cuff injuries.)
Seated Forward Bend
To help relieve lower back pain sit comfortable in your chair with you legs separated a little wider than hip distance. Make sure your feet are firmly planted on the floor. Holding on to the sides of your chair with your hands gently bend forward from your hips. Go as far forward as you feel comfortable. Release your head and neck and make sure your shoulders aren’t creeping up towards your ears. If you feel secure in your chair and are sure your will not fall forward you can let your arms dangle to the floor. Stay here for a few delicious, relaxing breaths and then slowly round up through the spine. Your head and neck should be the last to come up.
Seated Spinal Twists
Spinal twists energize the spine, stimulate the liver and kidneys, and can also relieve menstrual discomfort. Align yourself sitting tall with legs separated hip distance. Take a deep breath in lifting your sternum and as your exhale slowly begin to rotate toward the right starting at the base of your spine. Place your left hand on your right thigh and your right hand on the seat of your chair behind your right hip. Make sure you spiral up from the base of your spine and that your head and neck are the last to turn to the right. Soften your gaze as you look behind you or close your eyes and bring all your awareness to your breath. Hold for 5 to 7 nice cooling breaths. Each time you inhale lift your heart center and imagine your collarbones expanding to opposite sides of the room and each time you exhale gently draw your belly gently in towards your lower back. Be sure to keep your shoulders nice and relaxed. Come back to center and rest for a few breaths and then repeat to the left.
Published On: March 23, 2010