Computers are an important tool for many types of jobs, especially those in the online marketing and graphic design fields. But for those of us that sit in front of one all day, they can be hard on our bodies.
Looking at a monitor for hours can strain the neck and cause your shoulders to hunch. Pounding away at a keyboard or scrolling with a mouse puts pressure on the nerves in your wrists. And sitting for long hours tightens the muscles in the hips and back. All those aches can linger long after we power down for the day.
A good way to make sure your neck, wrists and back remain in good working order – and to get that much needed mental breather – is with a little desk yoga.
What is desk yoga? It’s a series of yoga poses that have been adapted for the office environment. You don’t need a squishy mat or yoga pants to practice these yoga moves; just give yourself a few inches and a few minutes to move. Here are a few you could try:
Wrist and Finger Stretch
You can do this pose while standing or sitting. Extend one arm at shoulder height with the wrist and fingers palm-side up. With the other hand, gently pull each finger back toward the wrist until you feel a slight stretch. Count to 10, then extend your other arm and repeat.
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Raise your arms above your head. Make sure your wrists are aligned with your shoulders and then straighten your elbows. Spread the fingers and thumb on each hand so your thumbs are pointing back toward your head. Sit tall to engage your abdominal muscles. Relax your shoulders. Then lift your chin up to straighten your spine. Stay in this position and breathe in and out for five slow counts.
Image credit: workandmoney.com
Sit up straight and tall in your chair. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, twist at the bottom of your spine to one side. Grab and hold the armrest of your chair on the same side as you twist to hold the pose. Breathe in and out for several seconds, then twist to the other side and repeat the stretch.
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This pose can be done seated or standing. Extend your arms and bend toward your left side, so that you are stretching as much as you’re comfortable along your side. As you stretch, create as much space as possible between your ear and shoulders. Breathe in and out as you count to 10. Switch sides.
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Downward Desk Dog
Roll your chair back a few feet from your desk and stand up. Then bend at the waist and touch your desk with your fingers, dropping your head between your arms. Breathe in and out to a count of 10.
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Ankle to Knee
From a seated position, put your left foot on your right knee. Let your left knee drop to widen the stretch. Keep your back straight and lean forward to deepen the stretch. Breathe in and out as you count to 10, and then switch sides.
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Desk yoga can help you keep your muscles limber, increase productivity throughout the day and reduce stress, helping to make all those deadlines and meetings more manageable. Helpful Tip: To make sure you get your yoga break in, set a reminder on your phone or computer. You’ll be glad you did.
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