Sitting or even standing at a desk creates problems if you’re doing it from 9 to 5, 40 hours a week. The body needs to MOVE so blood flows, lymph moves, joints are lubricated, and the brain remains alert. Sitting at a work desk for 6 hours or more has been shown to increase psychological and physical stress. Low back pain, tight hips, plus neck and shoulder tension can pull your attention away from the inbox and feeling productive.
Here are some postures to add between emails, projects, or meetings. Do them either individually or as a sequence. they will not only clear your mind as you focus on your breath and the subtle body sifts, and will leave you feeling refreshed and more focused.
Downward Facing Desk Dog
Stand with hands resting on your desk and step back until ankles are directly below knees and
hips. The focus is to lengthen the spine and lift the sitting bones up so there is an anterior
spilling forward of the pelvis. If your hamstrings on the back of the thighs or low back feel
restricted, bend your knees. Roll your outer armpits and triceps towards the floor, draw your
navel in, and pull your lower ribs away from the floor to contract your core and lift your sitting
bones as you press your upper thigh bones back. Feel broad in your upper back and soften the
skin on the back of the neck as you extend the crown of the head toward your desk. Breathe
and feel space between the vertebrae as the spine lengthens.
Place your hands to rest on your desk. Bend your knees to lengthen your quadriceps and
engage your hamstrings. Lengthen your tail bone (sacrum or base of the spine) to the floor in a posterior tilt, engage your core by pulling your lower ribs down, and lift your chest up. Breathe for a number of full rounds of breath feeling engagement and releasing tension as you soften your shoulders from your ears.
Sit on your desk chair. Place your feet and knees together. Squeeze your inner thighs and outer
hips in towards each other. Draw your navel in and back to the spine. Lift your chest without
releasing your core engagement and lifting your lower ribs. On the exhale breath, use your
chair as leverage and twist to the right. Twist first from above the navel, then the shoulders,
then the neck, and keep the hips secure and square. Come back to center on the inhale breath
and twist on the exhale to the left. You can hold the twist on each side for a number of breaths
or flow back and forth twisting on the exhale from right to left.
Seated Figured 4
Sit on your desk chair and cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right foot and
pull the toes toward the shin to protect its knee. Stay here and work on the external rotation of
femur in pelvis or fold forward to deepen the stretch and release. Breathe deeply and calmly to
feel the release. Notice when thoughts arise and pause them. Return your attention to the
sensations in the body. This posture can release long held tensions in the body and leave you
with a calm and refreshed feeling after.
Desk Chair Forward Fold
Sit on your desk chair and fold forward. Make sure your legs support the rib cage so your low
back can be supported as it’s given the opportunity to lengthen. If this isn’t possible skip this
pose and do the standing version. Let the weight of the head act as traction to release tensions
in the neck. Relax the shoulders and let the arms dangle. Close your eyes and relax the skin on
the bridge of your nose and forehead. Focus on your breath for 5 to 10 counts or longer.
Standing Wall Forward Fold
Stand 10-12 inches from a wall and lean back to rest your hips. Bend your knees to the degree
needed so the thighs support the ribs and they are making contact. Hold your opposite elbow
and let them relax to the floor. Let your head feel heavy and neck long as you lift your shoulders away from your ears. If you would like to feel more engagement, draw your navel in to contract your core, and spill your pelvis more forward with an anterior tilt. Breathe for 5 – 10 breaths or longer. Release by slowly rolling up through the spine.
This is just a sample and beginning! You can also add some side body stretches or shoulder rises by clasping your hands behind your back and hinging at the hips to fold forward. If you have a specific issue and would like some tips, please reach out to me on my website contact page.