Light up your Afternoon
Take a break for about 10mins to move and stretch your muscles, joints, and Spine. In order to stay young and energized the key is to keep the spine and the muscles around it supple.
Take a walk around the office space or home, drink a glass or two of water. Aim to stand and work for 2-4 hours a day.
Set reminders in your phone/smartwatch/ computers to remind to stand after every 30-40 mins.
While sitting in your chair take this opportunity to stretch and open up the stiffness in the joints and muscles around the spine.
Sit on a chair, a little forward so you're not leaning into the back of the chair, make sure your spine is straight, relax your shoulders bring them up to your ears and gently roll them back and place them back down
Seated Cat and Cow : keeping the spine neutral and erect. Separate the knees hip width distance apart, rest your palms facing down over your thighs. Come to sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs. On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades onto your back. This is cow position. On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position. Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.
Benefits in increasing the flexibility of the spine, relieves back pain, opens the chest region and upper back which improves the capacity of the lungs to breathe better, and stretches and strengthens the shoulders.
Seated forward fold/ Paschimottanasana: keeping spine straight and away from the backrest. On an inhalation, raise your arms up toward the ceiling. Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your chair seat and reach up from there. On an exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs. Let the hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy. On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head. Repeat this movement between a raised arms position and a forward fold several times, moving with the breath.
Benefits stretches the muscles of the backside of the body, while contracting the muscles of the anterior part of the body which help removes the fat from the hips, the abdomen and the thigh region. Improves the blood circulation in the back and tones the spinal nerves. Improves the alignment of the vertebral column. This pose also has therapeutic applications on diseases like diabetes, bronchitis, and obesity.
Precautions avoid if you suffer from slipped disc, sciatica and if you have had a recent abdominal surgery.
Chest Expansion: Spine erect, sit with your back away from the backrest, and sit closer to the edge of the chair. Inhaling take the arms back grabbing the sides of the lower end of the chair, make sure the arms are straight, don’t bend the elbows. Take 4-5 deep breaths in this pose and hold for as long as it is comfortable.
Benefits helps realign the body posture and corrects the alignment of the back. Opens up the chest and lungs thus improving the respiratory functions.
Precautions avoid bending forward while in this pose try as much as possible to keep the spine straight.
Seated Pigeon/ Eka Pada kapottasana: Come back up to sit. Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold this chair pigeon for three to five breaths. You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg.
Benefits opens the pelvic region, strengthens and increases the flexibility of the back.
Precautions avoid if there is spinal problems, abdominal problems, hip or back pain.
Seated Spinal Twist/ Ardha Matsyendrasana: Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left. Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths. Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.
Benefits increases elasticity of the spine, relieves back pain and stiffness, releases tension in the arms shoulders, upper back and neck.
Precautions avoid during pregnancy, avoid if you have severe spinal problems, peptic ulcers, or hernia and severe slipped disc.