Wellbeing at Work: Desk Yoga

Why we’re bringing Yoga to the workplace

Desk yoga

If you’re a practicing yogi you might dream of having a yoga class onsite you can attend during lunch break, a mat by your desk or the freedom to just break out into some yoga postures whenever you feel the need! In reality, for most people attending yoga class is something we have to make time for around life’s routine and find it hard to fit in everything we want to do.

That’s why we’re bringing yoga to the workplace, through a programme called Wellbeing in the Workplace, which includes; Yoga and Pilates classes, desk yoga, mindfulness and meditation, wellbeing therapies and talks, team building and corporate retreat days.

So how can Yoga benefit me at work?

Doing simple Yoga postures at your desk or another space at work can,

  • Increase energy and reduce fatigue
  • Alleviate physical discomfort
  • Help manage stress levels
  • Improve concentration and focus
  • Boost creativity, positivity and your general morale

It’s hugely beneficial to stop and take a few moments, either at your desk or outside, to go through a few of the movements and techniques below.

Breathe

The base of yoga is the breath, and this is the easiest way you can practice yoga at your desk. Usually, we breathe on auto-pilot and in a quite shallow way. Whenever you can remember make sure you take longer, slower breaths. This way of breathing brings more oxygen to the brain, soothes your nervous system and helps you to slow down. It can create space in the mind and the body (have you ever heard something ‘pop’ inside when you take a deep breath?) and promotes clear thinking, resets your internal system, helps relax you and much more. Why not place a post-it note somewhere on your desk or laptop to remind yourself?

Move

Office life can be quite static so it’s important to find ways to move your body at least every 30 minutes – at the very least stand up and stretch something!

It’s common to experience back ache from long periods of sitting in the car and at the desk and shoulder/neck tension from computer work and using the phone. These simple exercises are designed to ease tension from the major joints and areas that typically become sore or affected in other ways, such as shortening of the muscles which leads to tightness, from sitting.

Seated postures

  • Head roll
  • Shoulder roll
  • Twist, using the arm of the chair
  • Wrist and finger stretch
  • Place one ankle just above the other knee and bend forward as far as possible
  • ‘Rag doll’ forward bend, belly to legs, arms dangle

*If you have low blood pressure be careful doing the last two postures

Standing postures

  • Hip and ankle circles
  • Side bends
  • Arm circles
  • Quadricep stretch (thigh stretch)
  • Standing ‘rag doll’

Other tips

  • Set up your workspace correctly – chair, monitor etc
  • Remember good posture, maybe sit on a small cushion to lift the hips and keep the knees at a 90 degree angle
  • Remove your shoes, ground your feet
  • Drink plenty of water (and less caffeinated tea and coffee)
  • Get some fresh air during the day, try to go for a short walk or be in a natural space during your lunch break

Did we mention breathe deeply…

Click here for a short video of some of these movements by Yoga with Adriene