Everyone has hectic lives, and often we completely forget about stopping for a moment to find some time for ourselves. Whether it be, cooking yourself a meal, reading a chapter of your book, or practicing your yoga, everyone should allocate at least 15 minutes (which really is nothing) of your day to do something that just feels good.
Working full time, I find myself seated at a desk, hunched over papers or my keyboard for the majority of the day. This tends to result in a 3pm crash and burn! Since I’m not the only one in my office who experiences this, I decided that I was going to initiate a 15 minute office yoga break.
Mid-afternoon is usually that time of the day where you’ve already eaten lunch, had one or two coffees, and are starting to check the clock at the corner of your computer screen. There's no better time than this to take some time to re-energize and work out the kinks in your neck, shoulders and wrist...especially if you're someone like me who spends the majority of their day reading and writing.
The easiest office yoga break that you could do are really simple “chair yoga” stretches. You don’t even need to change into your work clothes, and they will give you that much needed boost of energy for those last few hours of your afternoon. You can do these at your desk, in the boardroom, in the kitchen, or even at home while waiting for dinner to cook!
CHAIR YOGA TO THE RESCUE!
- - Grab a chair, preferably one that doesn’t have wheels (or else comedy will ensue), and sit at the very edge of the chair.
- - Remove the flesh from your buttocks so that you are sitting directly on your sitz bones. Feet are hip-bone-width apart, shoulders are back, and hands are resting on your thighs.
- - With your right hand planted down on the chair next to your hip, draw your left hand over the right side of your head, and gently guide your neck to the left.
- After a few breaths, switch sides.
- - With your left elbow bent, and palm facing your face, gently grasp onto your left wrist with your right hand.
- - As you lightly pull down with your right hand, pull up with your left hand at the same time for counteraction. Wiggle your fingers a few times, and then switch sides.
SPINE (CAT/COW STRETCH)
- - With your palms resting on your thighs, inhale, arch your back, gaze towards the ceiling
- - Exhale and round your spine like a halloween cat and let your head drop, gaze towards belly.
- - Repeat 5 times to your own breath
SHOULDER (EAGLE VARIATION)
- - Inhale your arms out to shoulder level, and on the exhale cross your right arm over your left, bending your arms to cross at the elbows, palms coming together.
- - If your shoulders are tight (as many people's are) and you are unable to meet palms, simply hold on to opposite shoulders.
- - Take 5 breathes, unwind, and switch sides
- - Bring your right hand to your left thigh, and your left hand planted on the chair next to your left hip.
- - Inhale get length in your spine, and exhale gently twist over to the left.
- - Make sure that you are twisting first from your belly, then from your middle back, then upper back, then neck and head last. This is a twist for your thoracic (middle) spine.
- - Hold the twist for 5 breaths, and after your last exhale slowly unwind and switch sides.
HIP OPENER (PIGEON VARIATION)
- - Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, flexing your right toes and activating your foot (this will protect your knee)
- - Take a breath in, and on the exhale, gently push your right knee down with your right hand. You should be feeling this stretch in the outer right hip (Piriformis)
- - Hold for 5 breaths, and switch sides.
- - After you are finished simply sit, close your eyes, and breath in and out five times to close your mini-practice.
- - Bring your hands to prayer at heart centre, bow your head slightly, and namaste.
Sam Hall is a recent graduate of the Yogaspace Teacher Training program who specializes in Vinyasa and Hatha flow. Having been drawn to yoga initially to help deal with a stressful personal experience, yoga has now become an integral part of Sam’s daily life. It has not only opened her body but it has truly freed her mind, and she is extremely passionate about sharing this with any individual she works with. Sam hopes to inspire those beginner and advanced yogis alike to step out of their comfort zones and try something new!