10 Stretches to Do at Work
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10 Stretches to Do at Work

At your desk, on a break, or before or after a long meeting, these stretches will help keep you from getting stiff, tired and cranky during the workday. Try them at the end of the day, too, to relieve stress before you head home.

Yoga Basics

Tips for Your Practice:

  • Move into each pose slowly and deliberately.
  • Remember to breathe while you are holding each pose. Don't hold your breath.
  • Start slowly and don't overdo it.
  • Loose, comfortable clothing or workout clothes are best for yoga practice. Bare feet are essential unless you are in some of the resting poses.
  • You can do these poses every day if desired.

Credit:

This material is used with permission of Sterling Publishing, Co., Inc., NY, NY from Yoga for Wimps by Miriam Austin, copyright 2000 by Miriam Austin. Photos by Barry Kaplan.

Do-Anywhere Moves

Arm Stretch 1

  • Bring your arms behind your back, clasping your hands. Or, hold a tie, sweater, or scarf (or something) between your hands.
  • Lift your arms as high as you can. Lift your sternum.
  • Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, relax for a moment, then repeat.

Arm Stretch 2

  • Interlock your fingers and extend your arms outward, straight in front of your shoulders. Your palms should be facing outward.
  • Slowly raise your hands overhead, stretching all the way from the waist.
  • Work on straightening your elbows.
  • Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, relax for a moment, and try again.

Chair Twist 1

  • Sit on the edge of your chair, sideways with your left side facing the chair back.
  • Throughout the pose, keep your feet and knees together and even.
  • Place your hands on the chair as shown.
  • Inhale while straightening your spine. As you exhale, twist toward the back of the chair, twisting from the very bottom of your spine -- pushing with your left hand and pulling with your right hand.
  • Repeat the inhalation/straighten, exhalation/twist series several times.
  • Release and switch sides.

Chair Twist 2

  • Sit in the middle of your chair, sideways with your left side facing the chair back.
  • Repeat the same routine as in Chair Twist 1.
  • Do you feel the twist in the spine at a slightly different place?
  • If you need to, place a book under your feet to keep them flat.

Chair Lower Back Stretch

  • Sit in your chair and widen your legs so they are wider than hip-distance apart.
  • From the hip crease, bend forward and allow your entire body to relax. You can round your back. Drop your head and completely relax your neck.
  • If you are not completely comfortable, try putting a rolled blanket or towel at the hip crease and lean over again.
  • Hold this pose as long as you like, allowing each exhalation to relax your body and mind a little more. Sit up on an inhalation, pause for a few moments, and try again.

Close a Door for These

Warrior 2

This pose is the companion to a similar pose (not shown) known as the Warrior.

  • Place the back of a chair against the wall.
  • Stand with your left side toward the front of the chair, your feet 2-1/2 to 3 feet apart.
  • Place your left foot on the chair. The heel of your left foot should be roughly parallel with the arch of your right foot.
  • Extend your arms, shoulder height, palms facing downward. Relax your throat, neck, and shoulders.
  • Slowly bend your left knee into a right angle. Continue to keep your back leg straight and your back foot pressing into the floor. Look straight ahead or out over the hand over the chair.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Release and switch sides.

Tree Pose

  • Stand with your left side facing the wall, feet together.
  • Bend your left leg so your knee touches the wall and your foot is on your inner right thigh.
  • Place an old tie around your shin if you need help keeping your left leg up.
  • Press your foot into your thigh and your thigh into your foot.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then release and switch sides.
  • As you progress, you will no longer need the tie or the wall.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit near the edge of the chair, facing the wall.
  • Place your right foot on the floor at the wall, knee straight, and bend your left leg normally.
  • Either place a tie around the ball of your right foot (as shown) or hold onto the sides of the chair.
  • Lengthen your back, lift your sternum, and relax your throat, neck, and shoulders.
  • Bend slightly forward from the hip crease, keeping your back elongated (this means do not round your back). Only bend as far forward as you can with your back straight.
  • Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then release and switch sides.

Seated Double Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit near the edge of the chair and place your feet on the wall. Place a tie around the balls of your feet.
  • Lengthen your back and lift your sternum. From the hip crease, lean forward.
  • Only go as far forward as you can with your back and knees straight.

Head to Chair Pose

  • Sit in any comforable position (wide angle, straight-legged, or cross-legged) in front of the chair.
  • Place your forehead on the chair, on your hands, or on books or blankets piled up on the chair seat, whichever is most comfortable.
  • If your hands are not under your forehead, allow your arms and hands to rest on the chair seat above your head (as shown).
  • Your back can be rounded.
  • With each exhalation, allow your body and mind to relax just a little bit more.
  • Stay in this pose as long as you like.

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