Are you hooked to your desk all day? Do you work for hours on your desktop, without a break? Prolonged sitting at the desk can cause strain on the lumbar spine and neck, leading to neck, shoulder and lumbar pain and stiffness. This can affect the overall quality of your life in the long-term.
Incorporating some simple yoga stretches at your desk, and when you return home after work, can go a long way in preventing tiredness and muscle stiffness that comes with the desk job. These exercises are not very time consuming and can be done at any time of the day. However, it is advised that you remove your footwear and wear comfortable clothing, before doing these stretches.
The below stretches can be performed at your desk:
- Sit upright. Close your eyes.
- Drop your chin down to your chest.
- Now in a circular motion, slowly move your neck to your right ear and in-line with your right shoulder.
- Taking the head backward, bring the left ear to the left shoulder.
- While doing this, your shoulders should be in loose, relaxed position.
- Rotate this way for three to five times and then change directions.
- With your feet on the floor, bring both hands to your knees
- Inhale and stretch your back in the backward direction, and look at the ceiling.
- Exhale and stretch your back in the forward direction, and drop your head forward.
- Repeat this 3 to 5 times.
- Stretch your arms in front of your body. Keep them straight, in a parallel direction to the floor, with palms facing the ceiling.
- Cross your right arm over the left, bending your arm slightly at the elbow, if necessary, and join both the pams.
- Lift both elbows, while the shoulders should slide down your back.
So finally, after sitting all day at your desk, when you try to stand-up, your hips, lower back, and shoulders would feel very stiff and sore. You can shake off the stiffness by stepping on to your yoga mat, once you reach home, and do these relaxing yoga stretches.
Crescent Moon Pose (Chandrasana)
- Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale and bring hands up and interlace the fingers together, with the index finger pointing up over the head. Press the feet firmly on the floor and reach the fingers and crown up while relaxing the shoulders.
- Exhale. Press the right hip, arching over to the left, while keeping your feet grounded. Reach up and out through the fingers and the crown.
- Breathe and remain in this position for 2 to 5 breaths. Inhale and press into the feet as you reach the fingers back up towards the ceiling. Repeat on the other side.
The Half-moon pose strengthens ankles and knees, helps improve circulation and keeps the body energetic.
Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Sit on your mat, with legs stretched in front of you. Bend both knees and place your left heel as close as you can to the right sit bone.
- Cross your right foot over the left knee, and stretch your right arm behind you and place the palm on the floor.
- Cross your left elbow over your right thigh and slowly increase the twist. Fix your gaze over your right shoulder behind you.
- Remain in this position for five breaths, and then release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you, and repeat the same with your left knee.
This posture increases flexibility and functioning of the spinal vertebrae.
Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Sit with your legs stretched in front of you.
- Gently turn onto your back, raising your hip into the air.
- Interlace your fingers in a double fit, and draw the shoulder blades together and keep the arms straight.
- Stretch your legs over your head, and hips over your shoulders.
- Remain in this position for five breaths and then lower your hips to the floor, bringing your knees to your chest.
Plow Pose is an effective way to stretch your neck, upper and lower back.
Note: Some of these yoga poses should not be practiced by those who have a physical injury, or those undergoing treatment for certain chronic illness. All yoga postures should be learned and practiced under the guidance of an expert and certified yoga trainer.