We all know yoga is touted for relieving tension and stress. But let’s face it, on those highly scheduled office days when you need it most, not all of us can slip away to catch a lunch-hour yoga session. To help you feel your best at work, try this office yoga sequence by Vega Ambassador, Kreg Weiss. These 5 simple chair movements can be easily practiced between meetings, and will help you escape from the workplace just long enough to renew energy from within and reset intentions to carry through your day.
Office Yoga Sequence:
Remove your shoes. Start by sitting forward on the edge of your chair to create room for movement. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, hip width apart.
Place your left hand on your right thigh and your right hand comfortably behind you on the chair. Inhale and rise tall through your spine. Exhale and slowly twist to the right through your entire spine. Keep your shoulders relaxed as you hold for a few breaths. Inhale to return to center.
Ground both hips into your chair as you place your left hand on the edge of the chair. Inhale as you lift your right arm. Exhale and slowly bend to the left, stretching open the right side of your body with focus on the waist and rib cage. Protect your lower back by engaging the abdominal muscles and preventing your front ribs from pushing forward. Hold for a few breaths, and then exit by inhaling your spine up to neutral. Exhale to release the right arm.
Seated Log Pose Hip Stretch
Bring your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right ankle continuously as you allow your right knee to release towards the floor. Inhale as you lift your front ribs and activate your back muscles. Keeping your back active, exhale and roll your pelvis forward (feel how you can roll forward into the front of your sit bones). As your outer hip expands, encourage your right thigh and right shin bones to continually rotate outwards. Hold for a few breaths, then inhale to slowly lift out of the forward bend.
Seated Runner Hamstring Stretch
As you ground your left foot into the floor, send your right leg forward. Keeping your right toes angled toward the ceiling, inhale and lift your front ribs and activate your back muscles. Exhale and roll your pelvis forward minimizing any rounding in your lower back. Try to isolate the forward movement to the hip joint, and not in the lower back. Relax with a few breaths, then finish with a few more breaths with your right toes flexed towards the ceiling. You can support your body weight by placing your hands on your left thigh. To exit, inhale and slowly lift your upper body to a neutral sitting position.
Standing Thigh Stretch and Balance
Come to standing and find a focal point to help you balance. Shift your weight to your left foot, keeping your left toes relaxed and spread. Slowly lift your right foot and bring your right hand to hold your ankle. Adjust your thigh and knee, so your right knee floats parallel with your left knee. Contract your abdominal muscles to prevent the spine from collapsing forward. As you contract your abdomen, you will feel your pelvis tilt back enhancing the stretch down the middle of your front thigh. Keep breathing and stand tall keeping your gaze forward.
Repeat this sequence on your left side.
Practice safe office yoga: We recommend that you avoid using chairs with wheels, especially if on a wood or smooth surface. Discontinue any exercise if you experience discomfort.
Kreg Weiss is a certified yoga teacher, kinesiologist, and co-founder of My Yoga Online, exploring the world with a vegan, eco, and nurturing intention. He is also a Vega Ambassador. Find Kreg at www.kregweiss.ca and follow him on Twitter @kregweiss.