Yoga from your desk: simple exercises to boost your productivity
Do your neck and shoulders feel tense after a long day of teaching? Spending a large amount of time staring at your monitor may result in neck pain and creaky shoulder joints. Many online teachers spend 10 to 20 hours per week in front of a monitor, preparing and delivering content. No matter how many hours you work, sitting down for lengthy periods of time can build up tension in your body. In this article, I introduce some simple exercises you can do from your desk to ease some of that tension.
Don’t forget to breathe deeply when trying these exercises, as oxygen helps you deepen the stretch and relax your muscles!
1. Cow Face Pose (10-20 breaths)
Note: For this exercise, you may wish to use a small towel or yoga strap.
- Step 1: Sit on a chair in a relaxed position.
- Step 2: Raise your right arm, bending it at the elbow so that your hand rests on your right shoulder blade. Hold one end of the towel if you’re using one.
- Step 3: Put your left arm behind your back and reach up to grasp your right hand (or the other end of the towel).
- Step 4: Keep your back as straight as you can and keep your neck extended.
- Step 5: After 10 deep breaths, gently release your arms and let them relax.
- Step 6: Switch arms and repeat.
2. Puppy Dog Pose Variation with Arms on Chair (10-20 breaths)
Note: For this exercise, you may wish to use a blanket to support your knees.
- Step 1: Kneel on the floor facing the seat of a chair.
- Step 2: Place your palms towards the back of the chair seat. Walk your knees back, lowering your chest forward until your head comes between your arms.
Note: Keep in mind that your hips should be vertical to your knees, and your navel should be towards your spine.
- Step 3: Breath deeply to allow your shoulders to come closer to the floor. Keep the position for about 10 breaths.
3. Chair Seated Twist Pose (10-20 breaths)
- Step 1: Sit comfortably on your chair and put your palms behind your head. Straighten your back and focus on your breath for a few seconds.
- Step 2: Inhale deeply and slowly twist to the right. Rotate your torso from your hips and look behind you as far as possible while exhaling.
- Step 3: Keep this position and concentrate on your breathing for 5 more breaths.
- Step 4: Rotate back to face the center. Relax before changing sides.
- Step 5: Repeat, this time rotating to your left.
Note: With each round repetition, turn further back in a twist to feel the stretch at the neck area.
4. Seated Spinal Twist (10-20 breaths)
- Step 1: Sit comfortably on the edge of your chair, with your knees hip-width apart.
- Step 2: Inhale and feel the stretch of your chest, exhale, and fold forward from your hips.
- Step 3: Twist to the left from the waist, until you are looking at the ceiling.
Note: your left hand should be positioned on the back of the chair, and the right arm against the outer edge of your left knee to help you twist more.
- Step 4: Try to look at the ceiling so your neck may twist as well.
- Step 5: After 10 breaths, repeat the process with the other side.
Feeling better already? I’m sure you do! Make sure you adapt these poses to your own ability to prevent injury. Please keep in mind that yoga exercises can be challenging but they should never bring you pain. Listen to how your body feels and exercise within your personal limitations.
Disclaimer. This blog does not provide medical advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained in this blog is for informational purposes only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.
Learn more about EF Teach Online here.