Yoga at the office

A desk-bound day at the office can be tough on the mind and body, so we asked yoga expert and IC resident instructor, Heather Parks, for a few tips. Whether you’re feeling midday tension from an approaching deadline or overall poor posture, try out a few of our favorite office yoga poses to relieve stress and boost your productivity.

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Do you ever find yourself feeling creaky at the end of a long day? This pose will help to relieve neck, head, and shoulder tension.

RAG DOLL

  1. Push your chair back
  2. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, with your ankles directly under your knees
  3. Fold forward from your hip creases (not your upper back) as you drape the top of your body over your thighs, rag doll style
  4. Let go of your neck, let the top of your head hang down so that the crown of your head is hovering toward the floor
  5. Shake your head yes and shake your head no, holding for several breaths
  6. Come up slowly, as though you are stacking each vertebrae on top of the one preceding it, lifting your chin last

Stubborn Pigeon is an extremely effective hip opener that stretches glutes and psoas muscles.

STUBBORN PIGEON

  1. Sit up straight in your chair
  2. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, with ankles directly under knees
  3. Draw your belly back toward your spine until you feel your sitting bones support your weight, guiding your spine into alignment
  4. Cross your right ankle over your left knee making a figure 4 shape with your legs (be careful not to place the ankle bone anywhere on the actual kneecap)
  5. Gently, but firmly, use your right hand to press the right knee downward.
  6. Subtly lift the top of your chest toward your chin as you let your belly drop down into your pelvic bone
  7. Lift your head, look forward, and close your eyes, inhaling and exhaling deeply, as you lift your chest and settle your belly
  8. Take five deep breaths repeating this pattern before switching sides

The Mitt and Glove helps to lengthen the triceps and stretch the pectorals.

THE MITT + GLOVE

  1. Position your feet flat on the floor, knees over ankles, belly button back toward spine and sitting bones grounded
  2. Slightly lift the top of your chest toward your chin and circle your arms up so that the fingertips are pointing toward the sky and the biceps are in line with your ears
  3. Look up toward your fingertips and ever so slightly shrug your shoulders to elongate the sides of your waist
  4. Keeping your biceps alongside your ears, fold your arms over each other taking hold of the opposite elbows (left palm encircles right elbow, right palm encircles left elbow)
  5. Bring your chin level with the ground and take five deep, long breaths before switching the cross of your arms

Lastly, let’s reset and relax your body and mind.

STAND UP AND SHAKE IT OUT

  1. Stand up (or stay seated if necessary)
  2. Let your arms go limp
  3. Shake your wrists, shake your lower arms, shake your shoulders (if you are standing put some bounce in your knees)
  4. Stand on one foot and shake your ankle and your shin, then switch sides
  5. Shake your thighs, let your head and neck go limp, full body shake
  6. Slowly come to a stop and take a deep breath in through your nose, letting it out through your mouth with a sigh

Now get back to work 🙂

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Illustrations by Jacqueline Alcantara.

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