Feeling restless at your desk? Thinking of chocolate or something sweet to pep you up? Try these simple yoga stretches for a burst of energy. Practice them as often as you like.
Chest Opener – Sit up straight near the front edge of your chair. Place your arms behind you with your hands on the backrest of the chair. Interlace your fingers and clasp hands. Slowly straighten your arms while rolling your shoulders back and lifting your chest up. Keep your ribs in rather than poking them forward. Now see if you can raise your interlocked hands up towards the ceiling while lifting your chest. Repeat with hands clasped the other way. Don’t forget to keep breathing normally. This pose increases lung capacity and relieves neck and shoulder tension. See this YouTube video.
Modified Downward Dog – Place hands shoulder-width apart on your desk and step back until your ankles are slightly farther back than your hips. Keep your arms poker straight and firm your legs until you are not bending your knees. Press your heels firmly down and lift your buttock bones straight up. Draw your hips back away from the desk and move your shoulder blades towards your buttocks. To come out of the posture step forward. This pose relieves physical and mental fatigue, and helps relieve lower back stiffness.
Modified Camel Backbend – Stand close to your desk but facing away from it. Bend your knees and place your palms on the desk shoulder-width apart. Take a step away from the desk. Now roll your shoulders back as you straighten your legs. Lift your center chest up towards the ceiling. Lastly turn your head to look up. To come out bend your knees and elbows and step back towards the desk. This pose is excellent for energy, and also relieves tension in the wrists and upper back.
Once you are familiar with the routine you can practice it in three minutes, or less time than the average trip to the water cooler. Do drink some of that water to keep yourself hydrated. And when you return to work try to keep your chest lifted and your shoulders rolled back to keep tension and fatigue at bay for the rest of the day, or at least until your next yoga break!
Rebecca Taggart is a San Francisco yoga instructor