As a person who works from home, I often get to sit in my luxurious chair for hours on end. It’s excellent for catching up to emails, looking after my accounts, and endlessly researching on new topics. However, my body usually pays the price of it. Being sedentary for extended periods of time can result in lower back pains, as well as neck and shoulder soreness.
As I have discovered, Yoga is an excellent way to lengthen and strengthen muscles to gain flexibility, which will help your comfort level in the office. While it may not be feasible to head to a yoga class on your lunch break, below are 5 easy poses that I have incorporated into my daily work routine, and you can too! They are pretty simple poses that you can do in your high heels and in your cubicle. I find that after doing yoga for even 5 minutes, my body is rejuvenated and I can carry on the rest of my day.
This may seem like an easy standing pose, but it is a challenge to properly align the body.
1. Begin in a standing position with your toes together and arms at your sides with the palms facing outward
2. Elevate each foot and spread your toes apart before placing them back on the floor
3. If your ankles are rubbing together, separate your heels to create a bit of space
4. Make sure your body weight is uniformly distributed between all four corners of both feet
5. Take a nice, long deep breath in
6. Allow your feet and calves to root downwards toward the floor and exhale
7. Slowly rock back and forth and side to side
7. Inhale slowly while bringing your quadriceps upward, while simultaneously elevating your knee caps
7. While engaging your thighs, swivel them both inward and place your tailbone between your sit bones (the bones directly under your gluteal muscles that you literally sit on) and exhale
8. Engage your core by drawing it in towards your spine while inhaling, then exhale
9. Your shoulders should be parallel to the pelvis
10. Take a long, deep breath in and expand your collar bones
11. Extend your neck, then move the top of your head toward the ceiling
12. Feel your shoulder blades and each vertebrae glide downwards, while exhaling
Benefits: Alleviates low back pain, improves posture and body alignment, strengthens thigh muscles
Warrior II pose
This classic yoga pose will engage your whole body and really help improve your stamina and endurance
1. Begin in mountain pose and bring your hands into prayer position at chest level
2. Breathe out as you extend your left foot back approximately 3 feet.
3. Place your left heel directly behind the right and pivot your left foot at a 90 degree angle
4. Rotate your hips to the left and engage your thighs, and be aware that the middle of your right knee should be directly centered over your right ankle
5. While holding your pose, slowly inhale and lift both arms parallel to the floor
6. Extend your shoulder blades and feel your chest cavity and collar bones expanding
7. Turn your palms so they are facing the floor
8. Exhale slowly and simultaneously bend your right knee forward over your right heel
9. Make sure to keep a steady balance on your right foot and check that your right shin is perpendicular to the ground
10. Tuck your tailbone under and towards the sit bones
11. Check your posture to be sure that your abdomen is stable
12. Take your outer left heel and push into the ground
13. Stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, while slowly inhaling and exhaling
14. Inhale and straighten the right leg, exhale, and lower your arms
15. Repeat with the other foot
Benefits: Improves balance and flexibility, stretches thighs and groin muscles, increases stamina, strengthens core, shoulders, arms, thighs
This is a very beneficial pose for elongating and strengthening the lower back muscles. This can be a little challenging if you are not used to it, so be sure to really concentrate on your breathing and go slowly.
1. Begin in a standing position and place your feet next to each other and place your arms down by your sides
2. Slowly inhale
3. While you begin to exhale, slowly bend your knees as if sitting in a chair
4. Extend your arms straight in front of you and check that they are parallel to the ground
5. Make sure that your knees do not go over your toes
6. While holding this position, take 10 long, deep breaths
7. As you become more comfortable with this pose, you may bend your knees further
8. After the deep breaths, straighten your legs and drop your arms
9. Repeat 3 times
Benefits: Develops lower back strength, stretches and strengthens the thigh and gluteal muscles, improves circulation
This pose is one of the easiest back-bending positions and is wonderful for relieving pressure and tension in both the shoulders and the back.
1. Begin standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees loose and flexible
2. Exhale slowly and bend over, extending towards the ground
3. If you are unable to reach the floor, bend until you feel your hamstrings feel comfortably engaged
4. On the last extension, hold the pose for 5-10 breaths.
5. Repeat 5 to 7 times
6. Place your hands on your hips, press your tailbone down, and inhale slowly as you come up
7. Be careful not to roll the spine when coming up
Benefits: Releases lower back, neck, and shoulder tension and pressure, strengthens the knees and thighs, reduces fatigue, stretches hamstrings, calves, and hips
The triangle pose is an excellent way to strengthen your back and core, while also increasing flexibility. Be sure to be conscious of your posture during this pose, as it has several steps.
1. Begin in the mountain pose and rotate your body sideways
2. Place your left foot back approximately 3-4 feet, while positioning your left foot at a 45 degree angle
3. Move your chest sideways and keeping your legs straight, extend your left arm towards the ceiling, and extend your right arm towards the ground
4. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor and your palms should be facing the floor
5. Bend as far as possible while keeping you back straight and keeping your head in a neutral position
6. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, and drop your shoulders as you exhale
7. The goal is to feel your body as extended and elongated as possible, while still breathing comfortably
8. Perform on the opposite side
Benefits: Alleviates back pain and stress, stretches and strengthens legs, knee, ankle joints, hips, groin muscles, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest and spine
I challenge you to incorporating at least 2 of these poses every day during your work week. Start small and perform each pose every day for 1 minute at a time. Aim to do them around the middle of your day to give your lower back, shoulders, and neck a midday break. I encourage you to do 2 poses the first week, 3 poses the second week, and so on. Yoga is a sure shot way of improving your breathing patterns and energizing your life force.