Advantages of a little break at the desk and useful tips for your own practice
Who of you works at a desk all day? Those of you who do might know this: You are totally immersed in a task and it is only afterwards that you realize you’ve been sitting in a weird position. At the end of a long day at work, you’re cramped and exhausted, your eyes are burning from staring at a screen for so long… does that sound familiar to you? “Office ailments” like back pain are pretty common nowadays. And the mental challenges of office life shouldn’t be underestimated either. Time and performance pressure, multi-tasking, possible frictions with colleagues – all of this makes it important to keep your balance. It’s nothing new that yoga can help with that. Rolling out your mat after a long day behind the desk and unwinding with pleasurable stretching and gentle movement can work miracles. But why wait until the evening?
You can squeeze in a little yoga session right here in your (home)office. At the desk, wearing your suit – you don’t need a mat or leggings.
The perks will convince you.
Why you should squeeze in a little yoga break
Movement is often neglected when you’re working all day: The mornings are too hectic, in the evenings you’re too tired. Due to the long hours of sitting, your metabolism works at reduced level. This makes it easy to gain extra pounds and the risk of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke is increasing. Working against that is worth it, right?
Stimulating your cardiovascular system with a dynamic walk after work is great, but you can also contribute to your health without leaving your desk: Your muscles will be grateful if you show them some love. If you spend the majority of your day sitting, you’re likely to have shortened hamstrings and calf muscles, as well as a hardened hip muscles.
Our screens can also turn out as culprits when it comes to our eye health. By now there are glasses available which have special blue light filters, but it’s still exhausting for our eyes to be looking at a monitor the whole day. Another issue that yoga can help with.
Yoga without a connection to mind and soul, however, is just gymnastics. So, there is also something for those of you who tend to get nervous in the face of presentations, deadlines & Co. – like me 😊 Just give yourself five minutes in between to calm your nerves or give your confidence a little boost. Just like it’s possible to “trick” yourself into feeling cheerful just by smiling, even if you don’t feel like it, you can feel better by doing postures that express self-esteem.
The 7 best office yoga exercises
Take a deep breath in and lift both arms. Now extend your arms forward, bringing the right arm under the left one.
Now try to bring your right hand as close to your left shoulder blade as possible and your left hand to the right shoulder blade, so that you’re giving yourself a big hug.
Then, extend the arms forward again, the right one is still under the left one, the elbows on top of each other. Bend your arms and try to bring the palms of your hands together.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, then release and change sides.
Sit on the front edge of your chair. Extend the right leg in front of you, your heel on the floor, your toes pointing towards you.
Breathing in, lift your arms and straighten up. Imagine getting smooth while breathing out and fold forward, just so much so that you can feel a stretch in the back of your right leg. This stretch shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or hurt. Bend your knee if that feels better for you. You can put your hands on the top of your left thigh. Make sure to fold from your hip, not from your upper back.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, then straighten up with uplifted arms on your inhale. Pull the right leg in and repeat the position on the other side.
Sit on the front edge of your chair, your feet are next to each other on the floor, your legs bent at about 90 degrees.
Now place your right ankle above your left knee, the right knee can relax and drop outwards. Maybe you already feel a good stretch like this, otherwise fold forward until you feel a stretch that’s comfortable for you.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, straighten back up and shake out the right leg if you like. Then do the position on the other side.
Close your eyes for a moment and just notice how they are feeling now. Maybe they burn a little, maybe they’re a bit tired?
Do every exercise below 6-8 times per direction, close your eyes after each exercise, rub your hands until they get warm and place them on your closed eyelids before doing the next exercise.
- Without moving your head, look alternately up and down
- Look alternately left and right
- Look alternately from top right to left bottom
- Look alternately from the tip of your nose to a point a little further away, maybe on a wall.
Sit upright and straight. On your exhale, let your head sink to the right, so that your right ear comes close to your right shoulder. Hold for a few deep breaths, then slowly lift your head on your inhale and repeat to the other side.
Afterwards, let your head circle over one side, to your chest and back up over the other side. Change the direction, then shake and nod your head a few times.
Sit upright and relaxed on the front edge of your chair, your feet are next to each other on the floor.
Lift your arms up when you inhale and when you exhale, turn your upper body to the right side. Put your left hand on your right knee and the right back of your hand on your lower back.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, then lift both arms up when you inhale, turn back to center and repeat on the other side.
Boost your confidence
Sit on the front right edge of your chair. Place your left foot as far to the left side as comfortable for you.
Breathing in, lift both arms up and lower them breathing out – the right one to the front, the left one to the back, parallel to the floor, palms of the hands facing down. Look forward over the right hand. Keep your hands at shoulder level and stay upright.
On your inhale, lift both arms and pull the left foot back in. Lower your arms on your exhale.
Slide over to the left front edge of your chair and do the pose on the other side.
Whether you’re working from home or at the office – take a quick yoga break right now! Your mind and body will be thankful.