6 Yoga Poses to do at Work (without looking ridiculous!)
Want some simple ways to add more yoga to your workday? These movements, poses, and stretches can help you incorporate more movement and ease into your day whether you're sitting or standing (no mat required AND you don't even have to change your clothes).
My alarm used to go off at 5am every week day. A strict morning routine of working out and primping myself took me straight through sunrise until I landed at my desk around 9:30. From then until about 6 p.m. I would let the computer screen suck me in and lose all track of time to my work. Sound familiar?
I'd like to think that I moved more throughout the day than the average person but I still gained weight from having a desk job, found it hard to keep off, and even developed a serious lower back pain that I couldn't shake.
Now my daily routine looks a lot different because I left my 9 to 5 and work for myself, but it’s hard to forget the old routine when I constantly have people ask me how they can move more at their 9 to 5. It seems there's a bigger need for work / movement balance (kind like work / life balance I suppose) than I suspected.
I often hear “You’re lucky. I can’t quit my job” and “It’s easy for you, you have more time.” But guess what... we all have the same amount of time in the day and a little something called Choice. If you're reading this, you're probably at the point where you know you have to claim responsibility for yourself and actually start taking action to feel better.
And even better, the solution isn’t quitting your job ;) I didn't quit mine simply because of the environment. You can keep your job and start to feel better, but you have to be intentional with your self (a.k.a. that body you live in ).
“Sure, but what the heck does ‘be intentional with myself’ even mean?!”
I know, I know. There’s so much advice out there that says, “Just do more. Just move more!” and it's exhausting. Who honestly wants another to-do that they don't quite understand how to do crammed into their day?
Not you? Good, me either.
So let's cover some things you can actually do at work without drawing a ton of attention to yourself AND start to feel better. We’ll talk about standing and sitting because I know some of you have standing desks :)
6 yoga poses and movements to do during the work day
1. Tree Pose
While standing, bring the bottom of one foot to the opposite ankle, calf, or thigh (**do not rest your foot on the side of your knee**).
Keep your hips even (a.k.a. don't hike one hip up higher than the other).
Don't forget to do both sides ;)
2. Extended Knee Raise
While standing, lift your knee and grab it with the same-side hand. Slowly guide your knee/hip open to the side.
Keep your lifted foot flexed to help you balance.
Don't forget to do both sides ;)
3. Shoulder stretch
Find a wall or door frame, place the palm of your hand on it and slowly start to stretch away from your hand opening your chest forward. Take this stretch nice and slow!
Don't forget to do both sides, and breathe.
4. Cat & Cow
Place your hands on your knees or thighs. Exhale and round your back as you slowly curl forward (cat), inhale and arch your back for cow. Slowly move through these poses with your inhales and exhales.
5. Neck circles
Sit up straight with a flat back (don't slouch): 1. drop your chin toward your chest 2. slowly bring your right ear to right shoulder (keep your shoulders even) 3. Slowly look up and drop your head back behind you 4. then bring your left ear toward left shoulder
**Drop force the movements, just let gravity do it's thing and breathe. You can hold each position as long as you'd like and go through them all as long as you desire.
6. Seated pigeon pose
Bring your ankle over the opposite leg just above your knee. Keep your foot flexed to stay active in the stretch and breathe. You can lean forward a little for a deeper stretch if you want.
Do both sides ;)
Additional Advice and Tips:
1. Morning movement - first thing when you wake up, go through some simple movements to wake your body up. This can be "structured" Sun Salutations, or just moving with what feels good.
2. Mountain pose and forward fold - if you don't mind so much bending over around your coworkers (which sounds quite strange to type and read, but you get what I mean, right?), Mountain pose and forward fold are wonderful poses to bring life back into your all-day sitting butt ;)
3. Lunges - Again, if you don't mind being a little more open with your movement initiatives, feel free to do lunges on your way to the restroom at work or anywhere you're walking to really :)
4. Squats - Wherever you are, stop & squat. Just 10 squats will perk you right up! I used to challenge myself to do 10 squats every time I went to the bathroom at work (I drink a lot of water, so this was quite often).
5. Make up fun games for yourself, like my squat game above.
Want to incorporate more yoga and movement into your life?
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figuring out how to start a yoga practice that's right for you,
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and, get actionable advice on how to begin your journey.