Desk Yoga for the Overworked

Our bodies are highly adaptable to the way we use them every day. The physical habits we form will literally shape the way we look. So if you happen to be, say, slouching at a desk job all day, guess what? You’re gonna stay that way. Well, eventually.

By forming that habit, you’re letting your body know that you’re comfortable that way and to slowly mold your muscles and spine into that gloriously hump-backed shape of Notre Dame fame.

So here are a few yoga poses to undo the pain and bad postural habits that come with sitting all day at our jobs.*

 

One-Legged Pigeon with a Twist

This is a handy stretch that can help prevent sciatica pain, which is so often a result of sitting all day.
  1.  As you’re seated, keep your left foot flat on the ground.
  2. Flex the right foot (bringing the toes toward the shin) and place the ankle just above the left knee, making a figure 4 with your right leg.
  3. Lean forward to feel a deeper stretch in that right thigh.
  4. Then straighten your back, inhale first, then exhale to twist your torso to the right.
  5. Switch legs!

Be sure to keep your foot flexed when placing the ankle above the knee. This locks the knee joint and protects it from any harmful torque.

 

Rounded Shoulder Stretch

This one is great for targeting tension between the shoulder blades, which happens when you slump over keyboards and contract the shoulder blades together for stability as you make tiny movements typing and moving your mouse.
  1. Sit up straight. Inhale both arms up and interlace fingers, with open palms facing down.
  2. Exhale to round the back and bring arms ahead of you so your clasped hands are at your eyeline.
  3. Keep elbows rounded out like you’re hugging a beach ball.
  4. Let the head hang, chin to chest, and gently roll head side to side.

If you’re really tight you’ll likely feel the stretch shift from one side of the upper back to the other.

 

Seated Cat/Cow

This is a good, simple pose to do every so often to readjust your spine and release tension in your shoulders and lower back.
  1. Sit up straight. Place hands on thighs.
  2. Inhale your chest forward, shoulders back. Poke your tailbone out and look toward the ceiling. This is your Seated Cow Pose.
  3. Exhale to curve your spine, roll shoulders forward, and let the head hang. This is Seated Cat Pose.
  4. With every inhale, let the belly fill with air to come into Cow, and with every exhale, activate the abs to pull the navel toward the spine to come into Cat.
  5. Repeat until you feel better (or until your boss tells you to get back to work).

If you happen to try these stretches and find that they help, let us know and comment below!

*Remember that we know our stuff but we’re not medical doctors! Make sure you’re cleared with your doctor to perform yoga stretches, and as always, listen to your body.