Have you been spending long hours sitting at a desk or hunched over a screen? If so, you have probably noticed that over time your muscles feel stiff, your joints ache and your neck and shoulders become filled with tension. Your body is communicating to you through sensation! It may be time to take a short movement break to break the cycle.
There are many ways to incorporate movement into your workday. Simple standing up and walking around in short spurts gets the blood flowing and creates a better balance. A simple yoga practice is another easy addition to your workday. Try the few basic movements below and undo some of the held tension that tends to build with long periods of sitting.
- Simple Neck Stretch - sitting on the edge of your seat with a tall spine, let the right ear drop down towards the right shoulder. At the same time, imagine as though your left ear was reaching up towards the ceiling or pulling away from the right ear. If you would like to add a little load or extra sensation to this pose, gently rest your right hand on top of your head to add a little weight to the stretch. Breathe slow and easy. Soften your jaw and eyes. Move to the opposite side.
- Seated Twist - Sitting tall in your seat, with an inhalation lengthen up the spine and with your exhalation gentle twist your rib cage to the right side. Pause and allow the inhalation to lengthen up the spine again and as you exhale, explore if you have any more space to rotate your ribcage to the right. If it feels comfortable, place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand can rest behind your pelvis. Enjoy a few easy breaths and then explore the left side.
- Seated Cat/Cow - Bringing both hands to rest on your knees, with a long inhalation lengthen up your spine opening your chest and lifting your chin. With your exhalation, tuck the tailbone and round the spine to drop your chin towards your chest. Wait for the inhalation to lengthen you up again with an open chest and then the exhalation into a rounded spine. Enjoy the flow of breath as it moves your spine through extension and flexion.
- Side Body Stretch - Moving the spine now from side to side. Inhale the spine tall and raise your right arm up, exhale fold towards the left side of your body. Inhale come back to center and lift your left arm up. Exhale and fold to your right side. Flow easily with your breath from side to side.
- Chair Pose/ Utkatasana - Standing out of your seat now, place your feet about hip-width apart. With an inhalation raise both hands up and as you exhale, sit back as if you are about to sit back into your seat. Pause in this chair pose and explore sensations in your raised arms, strength in your legs and buttocks and the feet rooted into the ground. Move in and out of this chair pose a few times flowing easily with your natural breath.
- Standing Forward Bend/ Uttanasana - Standing tall again with your feet about hip-width apart, take a nice full inhalation filling the lungs and as you exhale slowly, begin to fold at the hips moving slowly towards the ground in this standing forward bend. Take a few breaths here. Your hands can be resting on your thighs on the chair seat or on the ground. Slowly make yourself back up to standing, enjoy a few breaths and then flow back into your standing forward bend.
- Standing Breath Sequence - Finish with this standing breath flow.
Inhale, lifting arms up to the sky.
Exhale, bring palms together and let them rest at your heart/ sternum.
Inhale, reach your arms out in front of you and then lift them back up to the sky.
Exhale, release arms down and fold forward into standing forward bend.
Inhale, lift arms and chest to come back to standing and arms reach to the sky.
Exhale, arms release back to your heart/sternum with palms together.
Flow 3x through this sequence. Then pause at the end and feel how it feels in your body to have this short movement break.
Appreciate your body and the fact that you created this pocket of space in your busy day. You deserved the break! Namaste.