A sedentary lifestyle is the root cause of many ailments. On International Yoga Day, expert shares five stretches that you can do at work
Yoga expert Namita Piparaiya demonstrates a stretch for the spine. Photo courtesy: Namita Piparaiya
The importance of physical activity in our lives cannot be stressed hard enough. From increasing flexibility to stress management, yoga has been practiced by those who seek a holistically healthy lifestyle. Many practitioners consider yoga to be a lifestyle, following a wholesome diet, getting adequate sleep and following mindfulness. For others, who work long hours, and have a hectic lifestyle devoid of body movement, incorporating yoga in their daily lives can be helpful.
“Working for long hours while sitting only in one position has been linked to higher morbidity, metabolic disease and even diminished cognitive performance. So, it’s important for us to move often and not stay in one position for too long. It really doesn’t matter as much whether you’re standing, sitting or slouching – what matters more is that you’re creating some movement throughout the day,” explains yoga and ayurveda lifestyle specialist, and founder of Yoganama, Namita Piparaiya. On International Yoga Day, Piparaiya shares five stretches that can be done at your desk to help you unwind during a long work day.
Stretch your spine
When you’ve been working at the desk for a while five areas need your attention. The spine--especially the upper back and shoulders-- tend to bear the brunt of working in front of a computer. So, anything that mobilizes the spine would be great not just for the body but also to improve your alertness levels and productivity. Cat-Cow, Seated Side Bends and twists are great options, and you can easily do them while sitting on a chair.
Long hours of sitting can weaken the lower body muscles, especially the glutes. One of the best ways to counter that is to get off the chair often and try to do so without using your hands. Anytime you get an opportunity to rise up, ditch your hands and simply do that. Lunge position stretches and figures four are two ways you can engage the lower body.
Unwind the neck
The neck is prone to build-up tension, which can cause pain and stiffness. Gentle neck circles and static stretches for the neck are helpful anytime. Make sure you breathe deeply as you hold your stretch.
Rest your eyes
Your eyes are a part of your central nervous system and can get tired during the day. The best way to relax them is through the palming technique. You will also benefit by walking across to a window and looking far into the distance.
Even a few short breathing breaks are an absolute must during the day. At least three times a day, take a few moments to do deep belly breathing. Uncross your legs, plant your feet flat on the ground, sit comfortably upright and ensure that when you breathe in the belly and chest expand, and when you breathe out the navel goes back in. Even five to ten deep breaths will help you feel instantly recharged.