Did you know people spend the majority of the day sitting? Whether you work at a desk job or spend leisure time sitting in front of a computer or TV, lack of movement can influence your health.
At BrokerLink, we are passionate about insurance, but we also value health and wellness too. We’ve put together some tips on how to do yoga right at your desk, with 7 poses to help you get moving, increase your flexibility, and feel better. No need to change your clothes as these poses can be done from your chair at work or home. Our own BrokerLink staff will be in action to demonstrate how to practice desk yoga.
Before trying our desk yoga series, we encourage you to consult a health care provider. The poses featured are not a substitute for medical care and do not offer any health guarantees. BrokerLink is not responsible for any injuries. The poses are a guideline to safely stretch at your desk.
This pose is about stretching your shoulders and loosening your spine. You may ask why is this important? Sitting at your desk for long periods can strain your shoulders. If your chair is not properly supportive, this may cause the back to slouch which puts strain on the spine.
BrokerLink team member Nicole demonstrates how to stretch while sitting at her desk. To begin, raise your arms above your head and gently stretch. Nicole clasps her hands above her head to also stretch her hands.
Next, Nicole focuses on her spine by sitting tall and gently twisting to the left side and holding for up to ten seconds. For those who feel comfortable, you can always include five deep breaths for relaxation as you twist. Don’t forget to gently twist to the right side as well. Nicole advises not to over do it, as you should only feel a gentle stretch or lengthening.
For the second pose, we continue to focus on shoulders and our back. Chi from BrokerLink demonstrates how to use the eagle pose and a forward fold to feel better while sitting at her desk.
For an Eagle Pose, Chi brings her arms out front, crosses the left arm under the right arm and holds for up to five counts. Be sure to switch and do the right arm under the left. Repeat as required.
Next, Chi demonstrates a forward fold by sitting high on her chair, with her lower back pressed firmly against the back of the chair. Chi slowly folds forward to gently release any tension from her hips due to sitting for long periods. This pose helps take some of the pressure off Chi’s lower back and can assist to release tight hips.
Next up we're going to improve our posture through a seated tree pose. BrokerLink team member Natalie demonstrates how to sit tall in a chair and raise your hands above your head (just like a tree). This stretches your shoulders and arms. If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them it’s desk yoga or it’s your own version of a touchdown celebration for a job well done.
Natalie also recommends stretching your wrists and fingers if you spend a lot of time at a computer. To begin, extend your arm with your hand facing out and gently grasp with the other hand to stretch your wrist and fingers. Remember to be gentle. Our poses are just a guide and you should consult a health care professional before trying if you have any pre-existing injuries. Repeat with the opposite hand.
Feel any taller?
Jim at BrokerLink shows us how to reduce tension in our neck as part of our desk yoga series. Drop your ear to your shoulder and hold for three counts. Be sure to repeat on the other side and as many times as required to feel better.
Jim also knows tight shoulders are common when being on the phone and computer at the same time. His trick to reduce tension? Let your arms hang down beside you and gently roll your shoulders up and down.
What do cats and cows have in common? They’re yoga poses that help stretch our back and shoulders.
Steve from BrokerLink suggests these poses to help reduce the tension from spending too much time sitting at a desk and working on a computer. For a “cat” pose, place your hands on the top of your thighs and tuck your chin towards your chest. Gently roll yourself down towards your chest. Hold for up to five counts and repeat as necessary.
For a “cow” pose, Steve recommends gently squeezing your shoulder blades together (or as Steve shows below, pull your arms away at shoulder level) and gently arch your back. Hold for up to five counts and repeat.
Pose six is all about increasing circulation through hips and shoulders.
Alissa from BrokerLink enjoys these poses from her desk to stay limber while designing ads.
To begin, sit tall and raise one leg while gently placing it over your opposite knee. Lean forward and hold. You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your hip. Be gentle and don’t over do it. Remember, these posts are just a guide and if you have any pre-existing injuries, be sure to consult a health care professional before trying the poses.
Next, Alissa demonstrates how to open tight shoulders by raising one arm and placing behind your neck. Take the opposite arm behind your back to try to meet your other hand. Again, the stretch in your shoulders should be gentle and don’t force your hands together. Be sure to switch arms and hold. Alissa advises if you keep doing this over time, you hands will touch (looks like Alissa is proving the concept!)
The simple act of breathing and closing our eyes for a few minutes can re-energize you for the rest of the day. Start your desk breathing exercises by taking a deep inhale, holding for two counts and then slowly exhaling. Repeat several times.
If you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, use palming to help your eyes. To do this, gently rub your palms together to create heat and place over your eyes for a minute. Be sure to remove your glasses first.
We hope you have enjoyed the BrokerLink series on desk yoga. Special thanks to the BrokerLink team for providing inspiration to improve flexibility and reduce tension while sitting at your desk. We welcome your feedback and let us know which poses helped you most to reduce tension or strain.