Five Yoga exercises that are accessible to almost anyone and that can be done seated. They focus on areas that do not usually get the attention they need and help to combat the slouching of the day to day life. Next time you find yourself waiting and sitting, give these a try!
1. Neck Stretch
From a long seated position, bring your chin to your chest and hold it there for some breaths. Bring the tips of your right fingers onto the chair or table next to you, and walk your right arm out straight. Slowly roll your left ear to your left shoulder. You should feel a good stretch in your neck muscles on the right side. You can move your fingertips further or closer from you, forward or back, and your chin further or closer from your left shoulder to feel a stretch in different areas. When you are ready to do the opposite side, bring your chin back down to your chest, then raise up your head. Repeat on the 2nd side. Then, with your head in neutral, keeping your teeth together but not jammed, lift your chin up slowly, with control; and when you feel a stretch in your front neck, stop bending back (this should be about halfway back). Enjoy some breaths here, and then bring your head back to the starting position. Find more at www.sushilyoga.com
Benefits: This stretch can help to inhibit tension headaches caused by tight muscles in the scalp and neck. It can also allow you to feel more convenient sitting at your desk and can relax muscles from a less-than-perfect night’s sleep as well.
See Also: Can’t focus, try Shoulder Stand
2. Seated Cat-Cow
Move your back away from your chair and sit straight. Place your hands on your knees or thighs. As you breathe out, round your back and drop your head. Draw your belly in as much as you can. On your breath out, arch your back, lifting your chest and head, relaxing your abdomen. Arms stay straight for this practice. You can alternate these poses as many times as you like before moving on to the next exercise.
Benefits: Seated cat-cow warms you up for many other activities and mobilizes the spine. It is also a good way to exercise conscious breathing since you do one movement on the breath in and the other on the breath out.
3. Seated Camel
Stay forward on your chair and sit straight. Place your palms on your mid or low back, fingers can point down or up. On an inhale, slowly press your hands into your back and roll your shoulders back. Raise your chest, and let your head bend back about halfway.
Benefits: By doing this you are reversing the forward hunching action that creeps into our day to day routines via all the time we spend on phones and computers. Take deep breaths in this pose to give your lungs space for expansion.
4. Seated Twist
Sit straight in the chair, feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath in to increase your spine. On a breathe out, cross your left arm in front of your body to hold onto the right armrest (place your hand on the side of your right leg, if the chair has no armrests). Place your right hand on the chair, right behind your right hip. Slowly turn your head toward your right shoulder to bring the occipital spine into the twist. Hold here and take a few deep breaths in and out. When you feel complete, move gently back to center on a breathe out. Repeat this twist to the left side.
Benefits: This twist is a major way to get your body moving. When you have been sitting for a long period of a time interval, it can feel really good to move from side to side.
5. Seated Diaphragmatic Breathing
Sit comfortably but straight in your chair with feet on the floor, using the chair back for the anchor, if you like. If it assists you to stay focused on the breath, place your hands on your upper belly or your rib cage. On a breathe in, feel your rib cage expand; relax your upper belly and let it expand. On the breathe out, draw your low belly in. You can do this with your eyes closed or with a soft gaze to the floor. Try to clean your mind and focus on the movement of the rib cage and belly during this Practice. Think of it as a kind of seated Shavasana. Continue this for as many breaths as is comfortable, ideally for some minutes.
Benefits: This breathing exercise has many benefits it is hard to point them all, but it is safe to say that you eventually will feel calmer and centered once finished.