Your body, along with any stiff or sore muscle bits are going to really appreciate the following chair yoga postures.
Release tension from your spine (due to lack of movement or awkward sitting), increase your muscle tone and flexibility, let go of tightness in your lower back, lengthen those hamstrings, strengthen your glutes or give your organs a gentle detox with a twist. All can be achieved by practising yoga from the comfort of your very own office chair. How easy and awesome does that sound.
In fact, don’t limit your office chair yoga practice to work. Try these yoga exercises when flying, on a train, in a bus, if you have limited movement, if you are feeling low in energy (the restorative pose #8 is the one for you then), whilst watching TV, pregnant, sitting at someones bedside for long periods or even in a waiting room. Gosh, I guess you could even do them on your bed. There are endless situations to take advantage of and benefit from chair yoga exercises.
8 of the best chair yoga exercises:
The following office yoga postures along with explanations have been written by celebrity Yoga guru and now Fila Yoga Ambassador, Kristin McGee. Kristin is pictured in all the demonstration images below.
My favourite is the “twist”. Its not until I actually do this pose (after sitting for hours in front of a computer) that I realize just how stiff my back has actually become.
Enjoy, let me know which one is your favourite and remember to breathe mindfully as you go. A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing before you start would certainly be very beneficial.
1 – Eagle Arms (And legs)
Sit erect and place arms in front of you at a 90 degree angle. Cross your arms so that the right arm is above the left. Interlock your arms and press your palms together with the tips of your fingers pointed upwards. Feel yourself contracting. This pose strengthens triceps, shoulders, and back muscles. It’s a good preventative measure against carpal tunnel syndrome. For your legs, simply cross your legs and interlock them with one foot behind the other.
2 – Lotus Preparation
Lotus is the traditional seat for meditation. You can just sit comfortably in your desk chair, with your neck and spine straight and erect, to begin to calm your brain. Place your hands palms up, with the thumbs and first fingers touching. If practical in the office setting, practice crossing your legs to build up the Lotus position. This will helps free your spine from the stress of sitting at your desk all day. Traditional Sanskrit texts say that “Padmasana”, Or Lotus destroys all disease. Note: Lotus is a two-sided pose, so be sure to practice both leg crosses.
3 – Mountain Pose
Sit erect, clasp your hands, and extend your arms forward. Turn the palms away from you and raise your arms until the palms face the ceiling. Stretch and feel yourself growing taller as you reduce the stress in your head, neck and shoulders. This posture lengthens your sides. If you want, add to this posture by bending your arms to each side.
4 – Twist
Place your palms on the arm of your chair and turn your chest and abdomen to the right, moving your left shoulder forward and your right shoulder back. Expand your chest fully and feel yourself detoxifying. Twists are great for the spine, your abdominals, and the obliques. Repeat on the other side.
5 – Lunge
Put your hands on your chair, take your left foot back, and sink into a low lunge. This is a great stretch for the hamstrings and it also strengthens the glutes and the psoas muscle group. Repeat on the other side
6 – Thread the Needle
Sit in your chair and cross your right leg over your left knee. Flex both feet and lift them off the floor. “Thread the needle” by clasping your hands around your left leg, just under your knee. This posture stretches hip rotators, outer thighs, and relieves tension in the lower back. Be sure to reverse sides.
7 – Scale Pose
Place your palms on the arms of your chair and cross your legs at your ankles. Exhale, contract your abdominal muscles, and lift your buttocks and legs away from the floor. Hold yourself suspended for five to eight full breaths. Lower yourself, change the cross of your legs, and repeat the motion. If you can’t lift yourself, change the cross of your legs, and repeat the motion. If you can’t lift yourself, start with your buttocks and add the feet as you build strength. This posture strengthens your arms and lower abs.
8 – Restorative Poses
Before returning to work, give yourself a few minutes to relax. After all, in yoga, for every action, there is a reaction. This relaxing pose is so simple, but is very effective in reducing stress in your facial muscles and helping to prevent fatigue. Simple cross your arms and place them on the surface in front of you. Then rest your head on your crossed arms.
All photo’s are courtesy of fila.
Peace, love and chocolate, Carole
Email me anytime: healthylivinglounge(at)gmail.com
On my bedside table:
Yep, I’m a huge passionate lover of the healing, therapeutic magic of Restorative Yoga. Judith Lasater is my teacher and her book is a great place to learn some life changing Restorative Yoga postures. Highly recommend – Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times by Judith Lasater.
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