Active-Steps-Work-It-Out-at-Your-Desk-with-5-Yoga-Poses

Active Steps: Work It Out at Your Desk with 5 Yoga Poses

In today's busy world, in which many people are struggling to balance increased workloads and responsibilities and maintain health, managing stress levels is so important. Fortunately, yoga and meditation is not only for flexible individuals and hippies living in California. Anyone can practice mindful exercises to manage stress and increase energy. Taking just 20 minutes each morning to quiet the mind can help to decrease stress levels and increase focus. Now who doesn't want that?! Relaxing the mind is key to overall well being.
Along with meditation, here are 5 exercises to do at your desk to help release tension. (Click on the image to see a slide show of images of each pose.) These easy stretches can be done in a chair, and even better, in everyday clothes! Hold each stretch for 5 to 30 seconds (resist the urge to come out of the pose). Breathe deeply and slowly while performing the move.

P.S. Pain is not gain! You should only feel mild tension that relaxes as you hold.

1. Cat & Cow (Spinal Stretch)
a. Sitting down, place opposite hands to your knees.
b. Inhale: articulate the spine by drawing your chest forward, pressing your shoulder blades into your body and arching the spine.
c. Exhale: round the spine, draw your belly in, and look down.

2. Half Moon Stretch (Lateral Stretch)
a. Standing up, reach your arms up and interlace your fingers, flip your palms up towards the ceiling, and stretch to the right.
b. Inhale: come back up through center and look up.
c. Exhale: stretch to the other side.

3. Cow Face Stretch (Shoulder Stretch)
a. Sitting down or standing up, lift your right arm up towards the ceiling, bend the elbow and reach behind your back.
b. Draw your left shoulder forward as you bend your elbow and reach behind your back to grip your right fingertips.

4. Seated Pigeon Pose (Hip Stretch)
a. Sitting down take your right ankle and place it over your left thigh. Your legs should be in a figure “4” position.
b. Intensify the stretch by leaning forward to fold over your legs.

5. Equal Parts Breath
a. Inhale for 3-5 counts and match your exhale for 3-5 counts.
b. Try doing this for 5 minutes to lower your anxiety before a meeting or prepare for a presentation.

By Katherine Ortiz, RD

(Active Steps is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and covers fitness and physical activity tips from Katherine Oritz, a Registered Dietitian, Certified Yoga Teacher, and graduate student at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. If you have any suggestions for Active Steps topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   physical activity , worksite wellness

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