About the writer – Chrystal Pearl is a Vancouver based yoga teacher who wishes for everyone to simply breathe and have fun on their mat. Chrystal teaches a variety of corporate & studio yoga classes around Vancouver – stretch & relaxation, hot yoga, power, flow, and yoga fitness based classes. Learn more at www.chrystalpearl.com or @chrystal_pearl on Instagram
5 SIMPLE OFFICE CHAIR STRETCHES TO
RELEASE TENSION & INCREASE ALERTNESS
It’s no surprise that sitting at your desk for a period of time can begin to tighten up your body and limit your creativity and mental sharpness. And not to mention the bad habits we adopt while sitting – crossing our legs, hunching over, poor desk ergonomics, always resting the phone on the same shoulder, and always staring at the computer screen.
Setting time out of your day to take a stretch break can not only reduce stress, increase flexibility & circulation, improve posture, reduce muscle tension but will increase oxygen to the brain leading to improved mental alertness and clarity!
So add it to your calendar each day and give yourself a much needed stretch break to relieve that office tension.
Here are 5 stretches you can do at your desk. All it takes is 5 minutes. Breath in each pose for 6-8 breaths. Give your eyes a break ad close them throughout the stretches.
1. SEATED OUTER HIP STRETCH: Helps release the outer hips, glutes and piriformis muscles
1. Sit up nice and tall on your chair
2. Place your right ankle over the top of your left knee (sort of making a #4 sign)
3. Curl your right toes back towards your shin bones, this ensures the muscles in the right knee are not twisting
4. To take the stretch further begin to gently draw your right knee further away from you, bringing your right shin bone more parallel to the floor
5. To take this stretch even further begin to fold your upper body over your right leg
6. On your INHALE breath breathe space into your outer right hip and on your EXHALE breath doing either #4 or #5 variations. Take the time to feel the stretch in your outer right hip
7. Repeat on the other side
2. SIDE STRETCHING: Helps release stiffness in the spine and low back
1. Grab opposite forearm or elbow over your head
2. Relax your shoulders, actually feel your shoulder blades melt down your back
3. As you INHALE lengthen your spine (without shrugging your shoulders to your ears), as your EXHALE begin to stretch over to the right side.
4. You should feel a nice stretch down the left side of your body. Take the time to feel how the space from your left hipe bone to the bottom rib gets a little longer.
5. Repeat on the other side
3. SEATED SPINAL TWIST: Helps release stiffness by increasing blood flow, flexibility and mobility through the spine while massaging the internal organs.
1. Sit up nice and tall on your chair, legs together with feet firmly planted on ground.
2. Place your right palm on the outside of your left kneed and begin to twist over to the left side. Your left arm can either stay relaxed along the side of your body or if you would like to take the twist further the left hand can grasp the top of your chair. Relax your shoulders.
4. On your INHALE breath lengthen your spine, on your EXHALE breath twist. Take the time to feel the twist happening through your spine.
5. Repeat on other side.
4. SHOULDER + UPPER BACK RELEASE: Helps release tightness in the neck, upper back and shoulders.
1. Slide your chair back far enough so that you can place your forearms on your desk, palms face down
2. Relax your head and begin to melt your chest down towards the floor.
3. On your INHALE lengthen your spine and the sides of your waist, on your EXHALE melt your chest and head even more.
4. To take the stretch further, bend your elbows and bring your palms to touch. Continue to melt your chest down. Take the time to feel the stretch in your upper back, shoulders and neck.
5. SEATED FOLD: Helps release tension in the neck, shoulders, back, hips.
1. With your feet firmly planted on the floor below your knees begin to drape your upper body over your thighs (depending on flexibility this will vary)
2. Completely relax your head, shoulders, arms, palms turned up to release your wrists
3. INHALE feel your lungs and ribs expand, EXHALE relax even more
4. Optional: If you would like to release more through your hips, take your feet wide and fold your upper bod
*NOTE: Because the head falls below the heart in this pose, you may feel pressure in your eyes (especially if you have high blood pressure) or trouble taking big full breaths or dizziness. Discontinue or rest your head on your knees instead to keep head and heart more level.