The human body was built to move more than sit in a chair, car and couch for a large part of the day, and yet this is what most of us spend a huge chunk of our time doing.
This means that no matter how good your posture is, when you’re sitting at a desk all day, your muscles are working very hard to hold your spine up, so just releasing tension from those muscles and allowing them to stretch takes a lot of pressure off the spine and is also energising.
The following yoga poses can be done even when you can’t leave your desk. They’re productivity boosting, concentration improving and just plain healthy.
1. Seated spinal twist
Plant your feet on the floor and elongate your spine with the crown of your head in line with your tailbone. Next, cross your right leg over your left and on the exhale, twist from the lower belly towards the top leg, allowing the upper body to follow. Hold the pose on each side for 30 seconds to one minute.
2. Forward bend
Sitting towards the front edge of your chair, plant your feet slightly wider than your hips so your shoulders can fit between your knees. For those with less flexibility or a sensitive lower back, lean forward, resting your forearms on your knees and elongate the spine into a half-forward bend. If you can go further, drop your shoulders between your knees so your head hangs toward the floor.
3. Hands alive
Sit tall, pushing your sit bones into the chair. Imagine a string is attached to the top of your head that gently lifts the crown up, putting space between your vertebrae. Inhale and raise your arms towards the ceiling with palms facing each other, make sure to relax your shoulders away from your ears.
Spread your fingers wide, then close them into fists six times. Keep your spine long and make sure your rib cage isn’t jutting out. Exhale and bring your hands down.
4. ‘I dream of Genie’
Sit up in your chair and fold your arms at shoulder height like a genie, keeping your torso stable. Swing your arms from one side to the other in that position, keeping your ribcage and spine stable.