Yoga continues to gain popularity, and with good reason. A practice that improves posture and flexibility, yoga has also been shown to lower blood pressure and relieve stress. But maybe you’ve decided yoga isn’t for you. It’s true, some people have physical limitations that prevent them from doing yoga, like chronic joint pain or acute injury or illness, but if your primary objective is a vague feeling that you don’t bend that way, you might want to rethink your position. Give these simple stretches a try, from the comfort of your own chair, and you might find you have more of an affinity for yoga than you thought you did.
- Start with some neck rolls. Seated neck rolls release tension from the neck, and can feel especially good if you spend a lot of time at your desk. (If you have a neck injury, or some issue with your neck or cervical spine, though, you might want to skip this one.) Sitting up straight in your chair, look at the ceiling, keeping your neck elongated. Bring your ear down to your left shoulder, hold, roll your chin to your chest, hold, and then roll your head to the right, bringing your ear to your right shoulder, and hold again. Repeat this twice, all the while inhaling and exhaling slowly, and in a controlled manner, through your nose. Be gentle with yourself, refrain from forcing your head lower than is comfortable, and stop if you experience discomfort.
- The Seated Mountain Pose helps you to check your posture, release tension from your upper body, focus on your breath, and engage your core. Sit up straight in your chair, and roll your shoulder blades back and down, with your arms relaxed at your side. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, engage your abs by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Inhale through the nose and raise your arms over your head, keeping them shoulder width apart while you relax your shoulders. Look up to the ceiling, between your hands, and stay in this position for five breaths.
- Seated Eagle Arms is a pose that works on your wrist, and the hard to stretch place between your shoulder blades. As with the Seated Mountain Pose, begin by sitting up straight, with shoulders down and back, arms relaxed, feet flat on the floor, and belly button pulled to your spine. Extend your arms in front of your body, bent at 90 degree angles, with your palms facing each other. Next, place your right arm under your left, pressing the backs of your hands together. Inhale while sitting tall, then exhale and tuck your chin to your chest, holding your pose for five breaths before switching arms and repeating for another five breaths.
- The Seated Forward Fold lowers your head beneath your heart, which can have a calming effect, but should be avoided if you have high blood pressure, or eye problems like glaucoma or detached retinas. Sitting up straight in your chair, with your shoulder blades rolled back and down, feet on the floor, and belly button pulled in, spread your legs slightly wide apart than your hips. Exhale, and lower your hands slowly to the floor, bending from the hip. (If you can’t make it all the way to the floor, put your hands on your thighs or shins.) Next, slowly round your upper back while lowering your chest between your legs and relaxing your head and neck down, with your shoulders relaxed and rounded. Hold this pose for five breaths before slowly rolling up.
- Seated Cat/Cow uses complementary poses to stretch the spine. In your usual starting position, sitting up straight with shoulders back and down, arms relaxed, belly button pulled in, and feet on the floor, inhale, and arch your back, leading with the chest and looking at the ceiling, with chin lifted. Exhale, rounding your spine, allowing your head to drop forward, then tuck your chin and let your shoulders roll. Repeat this pattern of cat (arched) to cow (rounded) five times.
Yoga is a practice that benefits both mind and body, calming the mind while improving health. At our clinic, we embrace therapies like yoga and acupuncture, incorporating them into treatment plans that also include more traditional western medical treatments. It’s what we call an integrated approach to wellness, in which we work to address each patient as a whole person. To learn more about how we can help you live your best life, visit our website or call today for a free consultation.