Movement is essential to a healthy lifestyle: motion and balance are keys to sustaining one’s mental capacity and flowing through life with ease. Try these seven poses at your desk, and watch how you and your work shift in a positive direction.
- Mountain Pose Tadasana: The most basic standing pose, this is great for posture and core strength. For this pose, simply gaze forward, relax your shoulders, engage your core, keep your knees soft, and slightly tuck your pelvis forward—that’s it! (If you do this for over 3 minutes, you should be sweating.)
- Eagle: This is a great stretch for the neck, shoulders, and upper back, and it will strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Bend your knees, lift your heart, bring your right arm underneath your left, and wrap at the elbows and the wrists. Have fun with this one and embody the eagle: swift, graceful, and strong!
- Tree Pose: A basic, beginner-friendly balance pose. All balance poses are good for core strength and mental focus. Set your right foot onto the ground, grab your left knee and bring it up, rotating your left leg to the side, and place your foot above or below your knee (just not on the knee). Stretch your arms above your head or out to the sides to embody your favorite tree and root through the center of your feet. Switch legs and repeat.
- Standing or Seated Side Stretch: We often focus on stretching either the back or the front of the body, while neglecting our sides. Keep a neutral spine, lift your rib cage, bring your palms together above your head, inhale, tilt to one side with an exhale, then inhale to come up; repeat on the opposite side. This side stretch is easy to perform and can be modified to be as intense or gentle as you would like.
- Easy Pose: This pose is perfect for realigning the body after you spend time sitting in a chair. Sit on a firm cushion (or improvise with a folded-up sweater) to elevate yourself about six inches off the ground, stretching out your legs. Fold your legs in until your thighs and crossed shins form a triangle in front of you. Lenthen your spine and enjoy the position for as long as you need to.
- Forward Fold: Interlace hands behind your back for this basic forward bend that can be done sitting or standing. Just make sure you bend from the hip joints instead of the waist: you have hinges at your hips for a reason.
- High Lunge: Starting with a forward fold, step your left leg back far enough that your right leg forms a right angle. Lengthen your torso over your bent right leg and stretch the heel of your left leg toward the floor. Take a deep breath before switching legs to repeat the pose on the opposite side. This pose is ideal for lengthening your hip flexors if you've spent a long time sitting during your commute, at lunchtime, or during a meeting.
Photos courtesy of Yoga Journal