Yoga for the Desk Jockey
I recommend incorporating the following 3 yoga postures into your workday routine.
If you Google-search “office yoga”, your search will turn up millions of hits for recommended yoga moves and routines.
The majority of them prescribe moves that can be done from the desk, in the seated position that most people already assume most hours of a day.
Emerging evidence has shown that staying seated for long periods of time is very unhealthy, at times lethal 1 , for our bodies.
Ideally, we should all get up and move around for at least 2 minutes for every 20 minutes that we are sedentary. 2
Staying sedentary for an hour or more decreases the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body by as much as 90 percent. 3
This research holds true EVEN IF you are regularly engaging in some other form of fitness routine outside of the office!
So, with that in mind, I recommend incorporating the following 3 yoga postures into your workday routine.
They have the advantage of getting you off of your derrière and allow you to stretch and flex the very muscles that get tight and those that get weak while assuming the “desk jockey” position.
For beginners, I recommend choosing one pose per hour. Every hour, stand up and perform one pose for at least 15 seconds and up to one minute. Then go for a brisk walk to the restroom, water cooler, mailroom… anywhere, to round out another minute of activity before returning to your desk.
1. Mountain Pose with Arm Up – Tãdãsana
This pose is excellent for improving posture. It strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles while firming the abdominal muscles.
It’s also great for a quick burst of energy.
Description: Assume a standing position with the feet together and weight evenly distributed to all four corners of the feet.
Point the tip of the tailbone to the floor and lift your heart center. Be sure to relax the shoulders. From here, pull the abs in as you press the palms together with fingers spread and lift the arms to the sky, squeezing your ears with your biceps. Take the gaze to the sky.
2. Crescent Moon Pose – Ashta Chandrãsana
One of my favorite poses, I do it several times a day!
Crescent moon engages the sides while stretching the rib cage, torso and arms.
Description: From Mountain Pose with arms raised. On an inhale, interlace the fingers together. As you exhale, think of lifting “up and over” and bend to one side to stretch the opposite side of the body. Be sure to keep the abdominal muscles engaged. Inhale as you come back to center and exhale to repeat to the other side.
3. Chair Pose – Utkatãsana
This pose is essential for activating and toning all of the muscles in the legs that essentially go dormant while seated.
It also wakes up the digestive organs (a great pose to do before lunch!), energizes the body and stretches the shoulders.
Description: From a standing position with feet together, bend the knees and shift your weight into the heels of the feet.
The tailbone is drawn down and heart is open and lifted, pull the belly button in.
Extend the arms towards the sky keeping the biceps next to your ears. Gaze is forward.
1. “What was important, the scientists concluded, was simply breaking up the long, interminable hours of sitting.”
Read New York Times article here.
3. “Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent.”
Read more from the New York Times here.