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Woman Stretching At Desk

It’s been a long two years of the pandemic and, for some, this has created chronic fatigue and brain fog. While most people are working from home, you may have found yourself slugging it out in front of your computer for longer hours than you thought you would. Freedom? Perhaps not, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your body while you work. Oh hey stretches…

Stretches (yes, even during meetings!) have the ability to improve your body awareness and get you ready for pain-free, easy movement in and out of the gym. Even better: a good stretching routine can flood the body with feel-good hormones before that first cup of coffee even hits.

Shoulder pain, stiff necks, weakening of neck and back and joint issues are just some of the problems that the mobile workforce are experiencing. Joëlle Sleebos, Head of Yoga at Virgin Active, has this advice: stay calm and course correct. Because it is possible to re-align our bodies, improve our posture and reduce any discomfort with a few simple stretches. So, without further ado… here they are.

READ MORE: At-Home Workouts For Work-From-Homers Who (Ahem) Kinda Never Went Back To Gym Either

#1 – Wrist and finger stretch

While seated, take the fingertips of one hand into the palm of your other hand. Extend that same arm forward, at shoulder-height, and gently pull your fingers down towards the back of your wrist until you feel a slight stretch. This stretch will give your wrists some relief from frantic typing, and has the added benefit of lowering your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Hold the pose and breathe for three to five slow breaths, then switch hands.

#2 – Seated Tadasana

Reach your arms above your head, aligning your wrists over shoulders.

Inhale: Activate your fingers and arms by reaching your hands to the ceiling and spreading your fingers as wide as possible. Engage your abs as you sit up tall.

Exhale: Relax your shoulders, align your head directly over your torso and slightly lift your chin up and in towards your throat to help stretch and straighten the back of your neck, your spine and find a good posture.

Hold the pose and breathe for three to five slow breath cycles.

#3 – Seated Lateral Side Stretch

Move into this stretch directly from the seated tadasana. Extend your right arm overhead towards the left side of your body and relax your left arm down. Feel the length on the right side of your torso from the right hip to right armpit. Your palm can face to the left and shift your gaze towards your bicep if your neck allows – don’t force your neck into any discomfort.

Create space between your shoulders and ears, keeping your shoulders relaxed and in line with your desk and each other to avoid leaning forward or back — only sideways.

Hold the pose and breathe for three to five slow breaths. Then switch sides to lengthen your abdominal muscles while improving spinal flexibility.

READ MORE: 10 Of The Best Fat-Burning Workouts You Can Do At The Gym During Your Lunch Break

#4 – Seated Spinal Twist

Move into this stretch directly from the seated tadasana. Bring your hand to your shoulders; lift your elbows to the side at the same level as your shoulders.

Inhale: broaden your chest and look straight in front of you.

Exhale: Twist and look to the right, while maintaining your hips in place. You may extend your arms and actively reach your right arm behind you and the left arm to the front.

Then switch sides to improve spinal strength and flexibility, reduce back pain and improve your digestion.

#5 – Seated Forward fold and backbend

Take a moment, give yourself a little more space, and take a deep breath before leaning forward slowly into a Paschimottanasana – or a seated forward bend. Focus on slowly extending the top half of the body over the seated lower half – gradually stretching out while controlling your abdomen and elongating your back.

To counter the forward fold, sit upright with a deep inhale before moving into the seated backbend. Stretch your hands down a few centimetres behind your hips and hold on to the edges of your chair. Push into the chair and reach your shoulder blades down and back.

Hug your belly in as you blossom your heart and lift your chest up and forward. Lift your gaze slightly and if it feels comfortable you can gently tilt your head backwards too, but be careful of discomfort in your neck.

Hold the poses and breathe for three to five slow breaths.

More than anything, yoga is about breathing. As you work towards stretching out those pandemic-induced kinks in your body, remember to take time to close your eyes and really focus on taking five to 10 deep, slow breaths before you dive back into your inbox. Your neck, spine and spirit will thank you.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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