Just like many of you, I spend a large amount of time in a given fixed position throughout the day. On some days, I am more at the office and others standing in the lab (or weird positions aligning my experimental setup). Staying during long periods in a given posture creates tension in the body. The answer? Yoga, yeap, yoga everywhere.
In general, sitting for long periods of time is detrimental for your health and it is often related with high blood pressure and obesity. We don't need to go to these extremes to notice that being for hours in front of a computer creates back and neck pain. One of the things I try to do every hour is to move around and stretch. It is important to change activity, my proposal to you? A few minutes of conscious breathing and soft movements to feel comfy and re-set. In the following you have a short sequence that you can do at the office: you just need a chair and a table. Let's go!
Seat comfortably on your chair with your feet grounded and your back straight. Inhale to open the arms by your side, and exhale to cross one over the other. Bend the elbows and connect your hands: either the palms or the back of your hands. Stay with the body relaxed and keep pressure between your hands to lengthen the area between the scapula. Do this exercise for 10 breaths and change sides.
From a comfortable seat, inhale to raise the arms up and exhale to twist towards one side. Place one hand in front of you (perhaps on the table), and the other on the back of the chair. Allow your gaze to go back and make sure your twist comes from the core. Stay for five breaths and repeat for the other side.
Stretch your neck
Interlace your fingers behind you at hip height. Inhale to separate the arms from your body, and exhale to bring them towards your waist over to one side. Make the elbow that is further away come in towards the body. Relax your head over to the side where your arms are. If you wish, you can sway your head from one side to the other to stretch a little more. As in the previous ones, stay for 10 breaths and change over to repeat on the other side.
Place your right ankle on top of you left thigh. Keep the foot in a flex position against the leg, activating the feet. On the exhalation you can bring the torso towards the legs. Stay at a height that is comfortable for you. If your have the mobility you can rest the torso over your legs and bring your hands towards the floor. Enjoy for 10-15 breaths on both sides :)
Lengthen your calves and hamstrings
We are going on the table for this one! Sit at the end of your chair so that your heel stays at the end of the table with your leg straighten. If it feels uncomfortable for your foot, you can always place a hoodie or a pillow underneath it. Keep the toes active (foot in flex). Inhale to lengthen through the spine and exhale to come close towards your leg. Wherever it is that you reach, keep the chest forward, avoiding to create tension in the upper back. Just like in the previous exercises, stay for 10 breaths and switch it out ;)
Doing this sequence will revitalize you, it makes a perfect break! So? Are you up for some office yoga? I'm cheering you on. Oh! And remember to stay hydrated: keep a water bottle close always ;)
All the beautiful pics have been taken at vivea, Barcelona.