The holiday season can evoke good will and good cheer, but it also its share of anxiety, stress, and expectations. If you start worrying about family reunions, holiday cooking and finding the perfect present, take a moment to breath deeply. Try the following three desk yoga poses to help you cope with the season flexibly.
Upward Arm Pose: Stand straight in facing your desk with your chest lifted, buttocks dropped towards the floor, and your face relaxed. On an inhalation raise your arms straight overhead with palms facing each other. Breath evenly as you stretch your fingertips up to the ceiling while dropping the buttocks and keeping your ribs in. Relax your face and jaw as you lift up. Hold for 30 seconds. On an exhalation lower your arms.
Supported Hero Pose: Kneel with your back facing your desk (if your back is stiff or quadriceps are tight) or chair. Keep your buttocks drawing firmly down towards the floor as in the first pose and lie back with your shoulder blades and head supported on the desk or chair edge. If this bothers your neck place a book or large file folder under your head. Press your tailbone forward away from the chair/desk to increase the stretch on the front of the thighs. Hold for one minute, then use your hands to push yourself up.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose: Face your desk and place your palms on the edge. Step back until your arms are straight and your feet are under your hips. Now keep your legs straight as you lift your heels and bring your shoulders over your palms and the front of your pelvis close to the desk. Draw your buttocks strongly towards your heels and move the chest forward between your upper arms. Hold twenty seconds while breathing evenly. On an exhalation take your hips back over your heels. Repeat three times, then stay in the final position with feet under hips and arms straight for one minute before standing up.
If you didn’t descend the buttocks enough in these poses you may feel tightness or ache in your lower back. Try the Relaxed Forward Bend: Sit at the front of your chair. Straighten your legs with your heels resting on the floor. Lift your chest as you place your hands on your upper thighs. Slowly slide your hands down your thighs, but only so long as you can keep your chest lifted at the same time. If you are stiff, you will stop somewhere above your knees. This is fine. If you are more flexible, your hands may reach your ankles or even the floor. Remember to breath regularly. Stay in the pose one minute. Keep your legs firm as you slide your hands up your legs and sit up.
These poses can be done at the office or at home. Remember to always check with your healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
- Rebecca Taggart
Rebecca Taggart is a San Francisco Yoga instructor.