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Yoga at Work: The Best Seated Stretches

Sitting at a desk all day can not only wreak havoc on your sanity, but also on your body. Recent studies have shown that sitting for eight hours per day, the length of a typical day at the office (not including other seated activities like driving and watching TV) is hazardous to our health. Lack of movement can result in sore shoulders due to poor posture, reduced blood circulation, tight hips, and unfortunately, flabby glutes.
Instead of sitting all day at a desk, here are some yoga poses that can be incorporated into the work routine, so you can sit up taller and go home with less aches and pains.

Seated Cat Cow
Seated Cat Cow

Seated Cat Cow
First adjust your seat so that your feet are firmly planted on the ground, your core is engaged, chin is parallel with the floor, and your sit bones are firmly planted into your chair. Put your hands on your thighs, palms facing down, and on an inhale pull the elbows back behind your torso, allowing your shoulders to gently “kiss” as you open up the front of your body and your gaze moves slightly upward. On an exhale, move the palms toward your knees as you round your back, bringing chin to chest. Repeat ten times using your own breath as a guide.
Seated Spinal Twist
Cross your right leg over your left thigh. Firmly root into the floor with your left foot (especially if you’re sitting in a chair with wheels). On an inhale, lengthen the spine using your right hand as a second spine behind your back, being sure to keep the shoulders away from the ears while creating length in the neck.
On the exhale, take your left hand, place it on the outside of your right thigh and slowly twist towards your right, eventually taking your gaze over your right shoulder. Inhale lengthen the spine in the pose, exhale, twist a little deeper from the thoracic part of your spine (the upper part where your heart resides). Hold for three breaths. On an inhale, slowly come back to center and on an exhale, do a gentle counter twist looking over to the left. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Pigeon
Seated Pigeon

Rooting down through the left foot, gently bring your right foot to rest over your left thigh, foot flexed, knee out wide to the right. Inhale lengthen the spine and on an exhale, gently fold over your legs, maintaining a flat back. Keep the feet flexed as you gently open up the hip. Hold for at least five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Side Bend
Inhale reach your arms overhead, interlacing your fingers and flipping the palms up toward the sky. Drop the shoulders away from the ears and on an exhale lean over to the right, twisting the front of the body open. On an inhale, come back to center and on an exhale lean over to the left, twisting the front of the body open. Repeat five times following the breath.
Seated Forward Fold
Sitting tall on the chair with both feet grounded into the floor, knees out slightly wider than hip width, inhale lift the arms above you and on an exhale gently fold in between your legs, holding onto opposite elbows. Allow your spine to hang heavy, releasing any tension in your back while increasing circulation to the brain and eyes. Hold for at least five to ten breaths. On an inhale, gently sweep your arms up above you as you sit up right.
Looking for more tips on how to stay healthy through exercise? Let Yoga at Work: The Series be your guide!

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Additional Images Courtesy: Melissa Beveridge

ProfilePicMelissa Beveridge is a 200 hour registered yoga teacher, certified integrative health coach, aspiring gardener, and writer in Monmouth County. She’s passionate about sharing her lifestyle and combining her love of food, health, and wellness into her writing. Follow her adventures through New Jersey at MBeeWell.com.
You can also find her on Twitter @MBeeWell, and on Instagram @mbeewell.