In a recent post, we discussed ways to reduce mental tension and promote emotional well-being. Now, we are sharing some tips for taking care of your body in the same way with some simple yoga stretches you can do quickly throughout your day.
Regular stretching not only keeps your body limber, but has positive effects on your mood and overall health. Studies show that practicing yoga (and other physical activities) regularly reduces stress, anxiety/depression, and insomnia. It can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Many of us spend the majority of our day seated at a desk hunched over a computer screen. Before and after that we spend hours lying still in bed. So it makes sense that our bodies would become stiff and compressed and need to have the kinks worked out.
If you can’t make it to the spa or chiropractor on a weekly basis, try some of these stretches to keep your muscles and joints relaxed and strong.
Simple Yoga Stretches for the Morning
Being jolted out of bed by your alarm probably makes you feel like you’re already running late for your day. It’s a race to shower, get dressed, and eat before braving traffic to get to work on time. But these morning stretches fast and easy, and will help you start your day feeling refreshed and calm.
1. Cat Tilt
Climb up onto your hands and knees, with your hands beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Stretch your head and tailbone away from each other, lengthening your spine. Take a slow breath in, then release it as you round your back toward the ceiling, pulling your chin toward your belly. Inhale as your relax, then arch your belly toward the floor and tilt your head toward upward. Repeat three times.
From the Cat Tilt position, stretch your right foot forward so it’s between your hands, and your knee is directly above your ankle. Slide your left leg back until your knee and toes are touching the floor. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your spine again. Breathe and press your hips forward for a deeper stretch. Then switch sides.
Simple Yoga Stretches While at Your Desk
Long days at the office can wear you down physically as well as spiritually. Not every company has a spa or a gym where employees can blow off steam. Below are some basic stretches you can perform without ever leaving your desk, or better yet, in the sunshine outside the building.
3. Shoulder Stretch
This can be done sitting or standing. Lace your fingers together and stretch your palms toward the ceiling or sky. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms lined up beside your ears. Hold this position for five slow breaths, then release. Roll your shoulders back and forth a few times, then repeat.
4. Chair Twist
This stretch actually does require a chair. Side facing sideways on your chair, keeping your knees pressed together directly above your feet. Place your hands on the back of the chair and inhale while sitting up as tall as possible. Take a deep breath, and exhale as you twist your torso toward the back of the chair. Repeat, then switch sides and do it again.
Simple Yoga Stretches To Do Throughout the Day
If you find yourself feeling tight throughout the day, take a few moments to do these simple stretching that you can do pretty much anywhere.
5. Forward Bend
This can also be done sitting or standing. Place your feet a little wider than your hips and fold yourself forward so your face is near your knees (bend your legs some of your hamstrings are too tight). Drop your head and relax your neck. Hold for as long as you are comfortable, then straighten up and take a few breaths. Bend forward again, and repeat.
6. Spinal Stretch
Sit cross-legged on the floor (or cushion) as tall as you can, stretching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Press your left hand onto your right knee, and exhale as you steadily twist your torso around to the right. Return to center, breathe, then do the same for the other side.
Want more tips on how to set up a private yoga practice that you can slip into your day-to-day?