10-Minute Yoga Break for the Office

By Jennifer Carter Avgerinos

We are hearing more and more lately that sitting is the “smoking” of our generation… What is an office-bound, chair dweller to do?

I find myself like many of you, spending way too much time sitting in front of the computer these days. We’re averaging about 9.3 hours per day of sitting, versus roughly 7 hours of sleep. After about 1 hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burns fat declines by as much as 90%. Research shows that extended periods of sitting slow the bodies’ metabolism. If walking around your office every hour or walking meetings aren’t an option and you can’t convince your boss to get you a standing desk or a treadmill desk, perhaps a few minutes of chair yoga sprinkled throughout the day is your best bet.

What is chair yoga you might ask? As you might have guessed, this is a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting in a chair or while standing and using a chair for support. Chair yoga is slowly being recognized as a distinct type of yoga such as Anusara Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga. The asanas or postures are often adaptations of Hatha Yoga poses. The following basic poses can be performed in 10 minutes or less and will help you get started on your path to a less sedentary workday.

Chair Yoga Postures

Overhead Stretch:

  • Raise your right arm slowly over your head, gently stretching at the shoulder.

  • As you fully extend your arm, feel the stretch along your side.

  • As you lower your right arm, raise your left arm over your head, stretching at the shoulder.

  • Alternate one arm and then the other, breathing easily with each extension.

  • Repeat three to five times per side.

Forward Fold:

  • With your hands over your head, and arms extended, slowly bend forward from the waist.

  • Gradually bring your hands to the floor next to your feet.

  • Let your head relax between your knees.

  • Rest your abdomen on your thighs and breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your breath to massage your organs.

  • After a few breaths, slowly come up one vertebra at a time.

Side Twists:

  • Cross your right leg over your left thigh.

  • Place your left hand on your right thigh.

  • Reach behind you with your right hand and grasp the chair, using it to assist a rotation in your spine to the right.

  • Keep your head aligned with your spine and remember to breathe.

  • Hold for a couple of breaths.

  • Release, and repeat on the other side.

The Arch:

  • Sit up straight with your bottom on the edge of the chair. Stretch your arms out straight behind you and place both hands on the either side of the chair, grasping the back of the chair.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply, lifting your chest both forward and upward, arching the lower back.

  • Extend your neck and stretch from the lower back.

  • Hold for two breaths and then relax.

  • Repeat three times.

Knee Stretch

  • Grasp below your right knee with both hands.

  • On your exhalation, pull your knee up to your chest, feeling the stretch in the hip and thigh.

  • Drop the shoulders back and down, lift the chin and pull the knee closer into the chest.

  • Hold for several breath cycles and then repeat on the opposite side.

See published article here: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/10-minute-yoga-break-for-the-office