Updated: Jan 19
If you’re reading the chances are your neck, back and or shoulders are giving you a bit of trouble from sitting at a desk all day. Not only is sitting a desk all day boring, it’s also very bad for your health.
If you go to a weekly yoga class this will go a long way in combating the effects of sitting at a desk all day in (probably) bad posture, but it’s certainly no match for the enduring stress you place on your body 5 days a week 9-5 whilst your sat at your desk.
It’s recommended by the NHS that you try and regularly break up your sitting time every 30 minutes, or exercising at least 60 minutes a day to combat the bad effects.
Whilst moving from your desk every 30 mins might not be possible, and look a bit weird, there are other things you can do to help yourself.
With these simple and discreet yoga poses you can do at your desk you can easily incorporate yoga into your everyday life. Alternatively, you can book a corporate yoga session to go through more poses and ensure you are doing each one correctly with a dedicated 30 minute session.
1. Wrist & Finger Stretch
Sitting and typing away all day builds up tension in the muscles and tendons in the fingers, hands, and wrists, so getting a bit of extra blood flow to these areas will always be beneficial.
This simple stretch is one you may be familiar with and can easily be held for 2 minutes without freaking out your desk buddies.
Stretch out one your arms in front of you
With the opposite hand clasped the fingers of the arm in front of you
Push down the fingers of the arm you wish to stretch
Hold for 30 seconds
You should feel a nice stretch in you forearm and wrist. Repeat this on the opposite arm.
2. Seated Twist
Again, a nice simple move, maybe if someone sits behind/next to you let them know what you’re up to so they don’t think you’re starting at them.
This will activate your spinal discs and stretch the muscles around you core combating sitting straightforward all day, if your suffering from back pain this can also help alleviate that.
Make sure you don’t twist too far; you’ll know you’ve overdone it if it is challenging to keep a steady breath and a tall spine.
Ground your feet down on the floor.
Sit as tall as you can.
Bring both of your hands to the right side of your chair (perhaps the arm or seat of the chair).
Maintain the length in your spine as you gently twist, using your hands for leverage to help you into the twist.
Hold for approximately five breaths and repeat on the left side.
3. Chair Pigeon Pose
You’ll need to make sure you may enough room in front and to the side of you to do this one.
You don’t want to overdo this one either, only go as far as when you feel the first stretch sensation and hold there. The seated pigeon pose will open up the hips and chest and provide a good stretch for the legs to combat their inactivity.
Bring your right ankle to your left thigh. This may be enough of a stretch.
If you need more, gently hinge at the hip and lean your torso forward until you feel it.
Try to hold for at least 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
4. Seated Backend
If you’re a sloucher this is very bad for your posture and puts your spine in an unnatural and damaging curve.
This seated backend will stretch those muscles in the opposite direction and help combat the effects of sitting slouched in your desk chair.
From seated, reach your hands a couple inches behind your hips.
Push into the chair, and reach your shoulder blades down and back.
Try to hold for 3-5 breathes
Return to a natural position and restart
5. Neck Rolls
A nice easy move to finish off with, you may see people doing this around the office throughout the day. If you do send them a link to this guide as they will definitely benefit from it as well!
Most people will have felt neck pain at some point during their office career, its one of the first places that will show signs of tension and is often one of the most painful.
A simple neck roll will help alleviate some of this pain as it’s a nice simple stretch for the neck muscles.
Start with your head looking forward with a neutral straight spine
Gently tilt your head to the right and slowly start to roll it back
Continue to roll your head round until you neck is tilted to the left
Bring your head back to the starting position and restart the exercise in the opposite direction
Once you have finished all these exercises go for a quick walk around the office to shake off. Whilst these exercises aren’t going to cure any bad posture or aches you have from sitting at a desk all day they should provide some respite from the constant tension placed on your muscles from sitting all day.
If you find these help you I would consider going to a yoga class once or twice a week to see the real benefits!