It’s 6:30PM on a Thursday evening, you are sitting in front of the computer trying to finish an urgent report.
The report is taking longer than expected and you are feeling frustrated and tired.
Your back and shoulder aches from sitting down for too long.
Your eyes are feeling dry from strains of starring at the computer screen.
Your head hurts as endless thoughts bounces around about how to finish the report.
This is sadly a familiar scenario for most working professionals. Especially now with the mandate to work from home, although we save time from commuting, we are actually spending more hours at our desks unintentionally.
According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it is recommended to stand, move, and take breaks for at least 2 out of 8 hours at work. Prolonged sitting without breaks increases your chance of chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
So, it’s time for a break!
Introducing chair yoga, an easy and effective exercise to incorporate wellness into your working days right away!
Chair yoga has been gaining popularity in recent years in the corporate world as a way to help workers manage stress and improve health. It is a practice that modify traditional yoga poses so they can be done while seated in a chair. While seated, you are able to stretch the whole body with twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand, lacks mobility, or want a quick break from office work. Chair yoga benefits extend beyond the physical health, it also helps to restore your mental balance and energy.
Ready to try? All you need is the willingness to try, a steady chair, and a few minutes to spare!
Below are 7 easy chair yoga practice you can do right away to clear your mind, reduce discomfort, relieve stress, increase energy and stretch the whole body. If you like these poses, you can also check out a complete 15 minutes chair yoga video here: https://youtu.be/w-JhK8VQ2PY
Benefits: relaxes the mind and boost energy
Come to sit on the font edge of the chair and place feet firmly onto the ground. Close your eyes and begin to tune into your breathing. Practice slow breathing, inhale breathing in all the way into the diaphragm, exhale gently contract navel towards the spine. Work on slowing down the breath to make it long and smooth. Focus on the breathing sensations. It’s important to spend a few minutes to let go and become aware of the present moment before starting any yoga practice.
2. Cat Cow Pose
Benefits: improves blood circulation and brings flexibility to the spine
Come to sit on the font edge of the chair and place feet firmly onto the ground. Sit up tall and lengthen the spine. Begin to place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs. For cow position, inhale, lift your chest, arch your spine and bringing shoulder blades onto your back. For cat position, exhale, round your upper back and spine and lower your chin to your chest. Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for 3 - 6 rounds.
3. Seated Spinal Twist
Benefits: aids digestion and increase vitality
Come to sit on the font edge of the chair and place feet firmly onto the ground. Twist your torso towards the right, holding onto the back of the chair with your right hand. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist a little deeper on each exhale. Remember to twist section by section from the stomach, chest, shoulder, neck, and head is the last one to turn. Repeat the twist on the left side.
4. Hip Opener & Shoulder Stretch
Benefits: release blocked emotions improve circulation
Sit on front of seat with legs wider than hip width apart and feet firmly planted. Place hands on the Inside of the knee and push out gently, straightening back. On the exhale, learn forward and rotate torso toward the right while leaning left shoulders down, gaze up post the right shoulder towards the ceiling. On the inhale, come and and return to straight back. On the exhale repeat on the other side.
5. Standing Back Stretch
Benefits: relives tension in the neck, shoulder, and back
Standing in for the chair hip width apart and place both hand on the back of the chair. Begin to walk both feet back while leaning forward until your upper torso is parallel to the floor. In this position, the hips draw back to be stacked directly above the feet. Relax the chest, shoulder and head for gently stretching of the whole back. If the chair begins to slide on the floor then place chair against a wall.
6.Supported Pigeon Pose
Benefits: opens the hip joint, lengthens the hip flexor, and stimulate internal organs
Standing in front of the chair, holding onto the back of the chair handles, lift right knee up onto the chair and externally rotate the hip until part of the shin and thigh rest on the seat as well. Slide your right feet towards your pelvic bone, and center your hips. Begin to slide your left leg behind you until it’s fully extended. You may choose to keep the toes tucked to get more of a calf stretch or place the top of the foot on the floor for an ankle and shin stretch. Next, keep the arms straight and lengthen the spine you will get a deeper hip flexion stretch. If you bend backwards and you will get a deeper back and shoulder stretch. Stay for 1-2 minutes then switch side.
7.Supported High Lunge & Side Body Stretch
Benefits: strengthen and invigorates the body
Slide to the left side edge of the chair, rest the right buttock on the seat of the chair only, right hand holding on to the right side edge of the chair for balance. Begin to plant the sole of the right foot on the floor, with the right thigh supported by the chair, and the knees bent at 90 degree angle. Next, walk the left leg backwards as far back as you can and straighten the left leg. Exert equal strength into both feet with strong legs, the chair should only act as a gentle support for the right tight and hip. Stay here for a 5 breaths. With right hand holding the right side edge of the chair, you can begin to raise the left arm and release to the right side for a deep side stretch. Repeat on the other side.
If you like these poses, you can also check out a complete 15 minutes chair yoga video here: