My favorite excuse of all time is “I’m too tight to do yoga.” This is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath. Let’s drop that narrative for a moment and consider these 5 simple poses to get you started.
(Get a friend involved to hold each other accountable. This is the key to long term success…)
Downward Dog (Office Yoga style!)- Stand facing your desk with both hands on the top. Walk your feet back using small steps until your spine has become parallel to the floor. With your feet hip-distance apart, your hands shoulder-distance apart (or wider if shoulders are tight), gently tilt the hips up and lean back as you lengthen through the sides of the body. Breathe in slowly, and release. Hold this pose for 10 breaths to feel more calm and grounded, while it opens up space between your shoulders, lengthens your spine, and provides a toning stretch on the hamstrings.
Baby Dancer (aka quad stretch)- Stand tall facing your desk with your feet together. Lift your left heel straight up, and catch the top of your foot with your left hand and hold gently for a complete in-and-out breath. With your thighs together, gently release your left leg back towards the floor. Hold for 5 breaths and change sides. The physical benefits include increased flexibility and released tension in the legs. Do this pose daily and you will see improved circulation and overall reduction of stress.
Chair Pose (or should I say, get out of your chair pose!)- Stand up tall with your feet together, and then bend your knees as you press your hips back as if you are sitting into a chair. Extend the arms up alongside the ears, gently reaching your fingertips toward 11 o’clock. Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor, while squeezing your thighs together, distributing your body’s weight into the back of your heels and into the balls of your feet. This strengthens the legs and back while opening through the chest and shoulders. It’s a difficult pose, but you’ll feel energized and strong when you stick with it.
Figure 4– Stand or sit next to your desk. Place your right ankle over your left knee and sit back into your hips. Energetically press your ankle and thigh into each other. Hold for 5 breaths and change sides. This pose helps to tone the legs and core, provide outer hip relief, and heighten your balance reflex. Do this pose daily to gain focus and mental acuity, along with more regulation in the nervous system.
Cactus Arms- Stand or sit in your chair with legs hip distance apart. Open your arms out to the side, elbows bent at 90 degrees, triceps and chin parallel to the floor. Picture the muscles in your upper back, and squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re at the end of a lat pulldown. Hold for 5-10 breaths, take a pause, and repeat one full cycle.. This strengthens the upper back and shoulders, and opens the heart, permitting better communication and connection with others– at a safe distance, of course!
I guarantee that if you do these simple five poses for 21 consecutive days, you and your friend will notice stronger legs, improved balance, and more freedom in the shoulders. These are the basic key activations that can get you started on your yoga journey, no matter how tight you think you are! If you need an accountability partner, contact us at the Office Yoga Institute for support, we’re always posing!
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