Got five minutes? Our special office asana routine will quiet your mind and relieve muscle tension. Extended periods of sitting seem to be an occupational hazard in today's information age. Even if you have good posture habits and the best ergonomic chair, your body will need a break to release muscle tension, stress and stagnation in the joints. Fortunately, it's easy to adapt some yoga postures for the office, allowing you to reap the benefits of hatha yoga without ever leaving your chair. Treat yourself to a five-minute break with this revitalising sequence.
Here are nine simple yogic exercises you can do at the office that hardly take much time but help you stay fit:
1. Upper Body Stretches: Sit firmly on the edge of your chair, gripping its back. Straighten your arms then, keeping your back straight, let your upper body pull you forward to stretch your shoulders, upper back and chest. Repeat a few times.
2. Shoulders and Back Stretch: Sit erect with your hands clasped behind your head. Now, gently pull your elbows as far back as you can, then hold them firmly in position. Repeat a few times.
3. Leg Stretches: Sit and grip the seat of your chair and raise one leg while you flex your foot. Slowly move the leg outward and then back toward the centre and down. As you stretch, straighten your shoulders and relax your neck and hands. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds to a minute then repeat with other leg. Start with five repetitions and then raise the number of repetitions as you are ready.
4. Spinal Stretches: Sit on your chair with your spine erect and both feet flat on the floor. Pretend there is a cord attached to the crown of your head gently tugging you up. Direct your gaze in front of your nose then bring your hand to your chin. Inhale deeply, resting your hand on your chin and exhale slowly. Now gently press your chin into your neck. Do four or more sets.
5. Ear to shoulder exercises: Sit on your chair with your spine erect and both feet flat on the floor. Now, inhale deeply. As you exhale, slowly roll your left ear towards your left shoulder. Again, inhale and exhale slowly, rolling your chin back to your chest. Once more inhale and exhale slowly, rolling your right ear to your right shoulder. Now, inhale deeply and exhale slowly, rolling your chin back to your chest. Do four or more sets of this.
6. Deep breathing exercises: Sit on your chair with your spine erect and both feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply filling your belly, lower lungs, mid lungs, upper lungs and chest. Slowly expel the breath from your upper lungs, mid lungs, lower lungs then belly. Repeat four more times with your eyes closed.
7. Chair relaxation: Sit on your chair with your spine straight and both feet flat on the floor. Grasp your kneecaps and hold them firmly. Relax your shoulders and arms. Now, inhaling slowly, press and lift your chest forward and up. Then exhale slowly rounding your back, pulling your navel into your spine and curling your shoulders forward. Repeat four to five more times until your body feels loose and relaxed.
8. Temple Rub: Keep your elbows on your desk and place your hands on your temples. With small circular motions, gently rub your temples first clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Do this for 10 to 15 times.
9. Meditation: Sit on your chair with your spine straight and both feet flat on the floor. Start taking long, deep breaths and then gently slip your chin down to your chest. Resting your hands on your thighs or down by your side, relax your shoulders down and back. Close your eyes and take your gaze to a point between your eyebrows. Take 5 to 10 long deep breaths, shut eyes focussed between your brows.
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