Seated Yoga Practice
For many of us, sitting for most of the day is not a new thing. The toll this practice takes on our bodies (as well as benefits of moving throughout the day) have been studied extensively. So what can we do when our jobs require sitting for long periods of time? The answer: Taking a short seated yoga break. It can invigorate your practice and save you from after-lunch drowsiness.
Photo by Paula Schmidt on Pexels.com
Seated figure 4 – Sit with your feet planted on the floor. Remove your shoes or simply plant your feet on the floor. If you are wearing heels, it is a good idea to remove them. Try to find a non-rolling chair to ensure that the seated surface is stable and will not move
Start by lifting your right knee up into your chest and rotating your right ankle over onto your left thigh. Sit up nice and tall and press with your right hand onto your right knee. This will engage the hip flexor. If you want to deepen the stretch, you can place the left foot on a block or a raised surface.
Stay like this for several breaths (1 full minute if you want to get technical), and then switch sides.
Forward bend – sit with your feet planted on the floor. Remove your shoes or simply plant your feet on the floor.
Lean forward and try to bring your chest to your legs. If you can comfortably lean forward you can grasp the back legs of the chair with your hands or use your arms to grab opposite elbows behind your knees. Use the arms or hands to pull yourself deeper into the stretch. Stay like this for several moments until you start to feel the back opening up.
Eagle arms – Stretch the arms out wide on a deep inhale. On your exhale cross the right arm under the left arm – crossing at the elbows. From here, either bring the hands to the shoulders (shoulderblades) or lift the hands and bring the backs of the hands together. You can grasp one thumb to secure this grip or, if your wrists allow, you can bring the palms of the hands together.
For each variation, lift the elbows and (if the hands are raised)
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com
Side stretch – sit with your feet planted on the floor. Remove your shoes or simply plant your feet on the floor.
Sit so that your shoulders are right over your hips. Sitting up tall, drop your arms down beside the chair. Begin to lean slightly to the right, letting the right hand become heavy. Stretch as far as you feel comfortable. Hold for 5 breaths. Slowly rise back up. Repeat the same stretch on the left.
Chair Twist – Sit with your feet planted on the floor. Remove your shoes or simply plant your feet on the floor.
Inhale and lift both arms overhead. On the exhale start to twist to the right. Bring your right hand to the top of the chair. Let your left hand grasp the side of the chair. Keep your knees pointed forward.
Hold for 3 – 5 breaths and repeat on the left side.
Wrist exercises – Stretch your right arm out front with the fingers pointed down. Grasp your fingers with your left hand and pull your right fingers back towards you as you exhale.
Stretch back one finger at a time starting with the thumb. Inhale to switch fingers and exhale to pull back. Switch hands.
Breathing techniques – Close your eyes or keep the gaze soft. Start to notice your breathing and pay attention to the stillness at the beginning and the end of the breath.
Start to lengthen the breath to a count of 4 for the inhale and the exhale. Continue this breathing for several moments. Pause and return to your normal breathing.
Once again lengthen the breath to a count of 4 for your inhale and a count of 6 for your exhale. Continue this breathing for several moments. Pause and return to your normal breathing while noticing your heart beat.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to what your body and mind needs. It’s easy to power through the day without pausing to catch our breath at times. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.