Could yoga be the workday chill you need to turn your week around? Learn how to do office yoga right at your desk!
Does work make you want to crawl under your desk some days? You’re not the only one, partner. Stress is one reason more and more people are learning how to do yoga at the office!
Work culture is competitive, and sometimes we need to chill out for a few minutes. Plus, an office job can keep you sedentary for 40 hours a week or more — and that’s terrible news for your body and your Zen.
It’s not always possible to get up from your desk and do a full Pilates routine every time you feel like your brain and body need a good stretch … but you don’t have to get up. Even a seated office yoga routine can wake up the body parts that suffer from working at a computer and squash some stress.
Yoga includes a mindfulness practice — you aren’t just going through the motions; you’re focusing on the sensations in your body (and nothing else!), which takes you away from the pressure.
Plus, the static and dynamic stretching in a quick yoga sesh feels good for a reason — the body produces endorphins when it moves, leading to improved mood and reduced stress levels.
This is why you need a little workday yoga
There’s scientific backing to using yoga to control stress in the workplace (and everywhere else). Just a few conclusions include:
- After a three-month Iyengar yoga program, women who participated in a 2005 study had “significant improvements in perceived stress,” and their “cortisol (a stress hormone) decreased significantly” after participating in a yoga class.
- In a 2006 study, “[hatha] yoga was found to be as effective as relaxation in reducing stress” and improving mental health.
- And most importantly, “workplace physical activity and yoga programs are associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms,” the authors concluded in a 2014 literature review.
If you want to feel good at work and keep burnout from getting its meaty paws on you, a quick yoga break could be just the ticket!
Wondering how to do yoga at the office? Try this seated sequence at your desk
Not a yogi? No worries, anyone can learn how to do yoga at the office in a few minutes. Here’s a quick seated desk sequence you can do without any fitness experience at all:
Optional: Mountain flow
If you can stand up from your desk, you can start with this standing mountain flow! You can skip this optional beginning flow if you don’t have the space to stretch while standing—but include it if you can.
- Stand tall, stacking your hips over your ankles and your chest over your hips, so your body forms a straight vertical line. Imagine reaching the top of your head toward the sky. Let your arms hang at your sides with the palms out.
- Focus on how your breathing feels, and stay here for four breaths.
- Slowly reach your arms in front of you and up to the sky, holding your hands shoulder-distance apart with the palms facing each other. Reach high with your arms and the crown of your head.
- Keep breathing and stay for four breaths.
- Flip your palms toward the sky, so they’re reaching straight up. Your arms should stay in the same position.
- Stay here for four breaths, still focusing on your breathing.
- Drop your arms to your sides, then grasp your hands together behind your back. Stand tall and reach down with your clasped hands, pulling your shoulder blades down your back.
- You guessed it—take four breaths, focusing on how it feels. Then drop your hands by your sides and let them relax.
Take a seat if you’re not already down there. Cross your legs so that your right shin is in front and your knees are directly over your feet.
If your chair isn’t wide enough to allow this, you can sit in half-lotus by bringing your right shin onto the chair and your right foot onto your left thigh.
Interlace your fingers together, then stretch them overhead, palms to the sky. Stay here for four breaths, keeping your attention on how your body feels.
From easy seat, turn to the right and place your right hand on the back of your chair (or behind you). Cross your left leg over your right leg. Gaze to the right and behind you for four breaths.
Return to easy seat, then repeat the seated twist on the left side.
Return to a neutral seat with your feet on the ground in front of you. Okay, here’s where you’ve got to pay attention:
- Raise your arms in front of you and wrap your right forearm around your left forearm until your elbows are touching and your hands are clasped together. Your right forearm should be in front.
- Wrap your left leg around your right shin and hook your left foot around your right calf. Your right shin should be in front.
Breathe here for a count of four, then release your arms and legs into a neutral position. Then, repeat it with your arms and legs tangled in the opposite direction! This yoga version of the hokey pokey will give you a nice workout and an energy boost at work!
Sit cross-legged or in a neutral position. Place your hands on your thighs or knees, then roll your shoulders up and forward as you arch your upper back. Hold it here for four breaths, then release into a neutral spine for a moment.
Then, arch your back and neck, and push away from your body with your hands on your legs. Hold this for four breaths, then release back into neutral (or repeat it a few more times if it feels good).
In a neutral seat, take your right leg and cross it over your left thigh with your arms on your legs. You can sit passively in this position or, for a deeper stretch in the hips, slowly shift your weight forward into your arms, so you’re folding over your right leg.
Stay here for four breaths, then unravel into a neutral seat and repeat it with the left leg.
Take an easy seat with your legs crossed and relax your body against the support of your chair. Concentrate on the feeling of your weight resting against the chair’s surface. Rest here and let your mind be empty as you focus on the physical sensation. Stay here for as long as you can—but even a short savasana helps you reset before getting back to work.
Now you know how to do yoga at the office. Still need help getting out of your head and into your body?
We love office yoga on its own, but you can get even more benefit out of coping methods if you stack ‘em!
Cannabinoids and yoga have great synergy — yoga is all about the mind-body connection, and that’s where CBD can help. A 2013 review describes endocannabinoids (or cannabinoids that occur within the body) as “literally a bridge between body and mind” in terms of how these neurochemicals connect brain activity with your physical state.
It can be hard to get into the mindset of focusing on your breath and body at your desk, where you’re wired to focus on the screen instead. CBD can help take the edge off so you can focus on getting the most benefits from your quick office yoga break.
If you’re having trouble focusing on how to do yoga in the office, remember the brain and body benefits of twisting your limbs into knots at your desk (eagle pose, what?). And adding some CBD to your routine could help—it’s simple to take at work in the form of the cutest little sugar bears!
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