Do you ever leave the office feeling utterly exhausted? After sitting for 8+ hours and staring at your computer screen, you know that you should get some movement and head to the gym or catch a yoga class. But instead you instead find yourself at home – and completely spent.
According to Healthyway, some of the ways ways in which your office job can leave you feeling tired include lack of light, lack of fresh air, and lack of movement. Take this a step further, and think about the effect that a desk job has on your overall posture. Many office jobs will encourage sore wrists, tight forearms, neck strain, shoulder issues, and aching hips. We need to offset these habitual strains with movements that help to counteract these effects. (Sorry gym buffs, it’s not more squats for your already over-taxed hips!)
While adding a structured, lengthy, or intense workout after a long workday might not feel attainable (let alone possible with scheduling demands), carving out just 15 minutes for this yoga sequence that will help combat your desk fatigue from your work day.
It’s important to make time to help re-energize and refresh your body and mind after a long day at the office. This 15-minute yoga sequence for desk fatigue will help stretch your hips, open up your front body, bring length to your spine, and give you the opportunity to slow your thinking brain down. Pro tip: like any new routine, set yourself up for success; set a reminder or an alarm and leave your mat out where you can see it to help you make it happen.
Heart Opener On Blocks
- Take two yoga blocks, place one in the middle of your mat, so that your spine can rest along the block. Place the other block on it’s tallest height and rest the back of your head on it. You can keep your knees bent or take your legs long (as long as your low back doesn’t feel strained).
- Let your arms stretch out and relax your fingers. It can take a few breaths to get settled into this posture.
- Stay here for 10 breaths.
- When you are done, slowly roll off the blocks onto one side and take a few breaths.
- Move to your hands and knees, and come to a table-top position. Stack your hips over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists.
- Move through 3 rounds of cow / cat. Notice the movement through your spine, as well as how it feels to open through your chest and stretch through your back body.
Easy Seat With Forward Fold
- Come to a seat with your legs crossed. Sit up tall, and then fold over your legs. Walk your arms out in front of you while you send your sitting bones and hips towards the space behind you.
- When your left shin is in front, walk your hands over to the right to stretch through your left side body. When your right shin is in front, walk your hands over to the left to stretch through your right side body.
Repeat the seated froward fold and side stretch on the other side.
- Come back to centre, sit up tall and shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Roll your shoulders back and down. Repeat 5 times.
- Bring your chin to your chest to find a gentle stretch through the back of your neck.
- Nod your head over to the left to find a stretch through the right side of your neck.
- Come through centre and then nod your head over to the right to find a stretch through the left side of your neck.
- Do this 3 times on each side.
- Come back to centre and lift your head so you are looking straight ahead.
Downward Facing Dog
- Move to your hands and knees and come into Downward Facing Dog. Feel free to “walk your dog”, move through your hips, whatever movements feel good. Stay here for 5 full breaths.
- Walk your feet to your hands and come into a forward fold. Take your feet slightly wider than hip distance as you take your hands to opposite elbows. You can stay still or give a gentle sway from side to side.
- Bring your feet to inner hip-distance and release your hands towards the earth. With slightly bent knees, press through your feet, take your arms out wide, and rise to stand. Bring your hands together and through heart centre.
- With your hands on your hips, externally rotate your right thigh and place your right foot anywhere on your inner left leg. Press your right foot against your left leg (as long as it is above or below your knee), and lengthen your tailbone towards the ground. Keep your hips level, and you can use your hands to help you balance or challenge your balance and bring your hands to heart centre or reach your arms towards the sky.
- Hold here for 5 breaths.
- Move your right knee to centre, bend your left knee, and lower your hands to the earth as you step your right foot back.
Low Lunge With Your Hands Clasped
- Lower your right knee to the ground, and place your hands on your hips. Level out through your pelvis again, from left to right, as well as front to back. Find a stretch through the front of your right hip and / or thigh.
- Root your tailbone towards the floor and then reach your arms behind you and interlace your fingers. This will help open up through your chest.
- Hold here for 5 breaths.
- Place your hands on either side of your left foot and step your right foot forward. Slide your hands up your shins to lift half-way, and then forward fold.
- With slightly bent knees, press through your feet, take your arms out wide, and rise to stand. Bring your hands together and through heart centre.
Repeat tree and low lunge on the other side.
- From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), reach your arms up, and fold over your legs. Lift half-way, and as your hands plant on the ground, step each leg back until you are in plank pose.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
Lower onto your belly.
- Interlace your hands behind your back and press the tops of your feet into the earth. With your leg muscles engaged (you’ll know as your knee caps will lift slightly), lengthen your spine and reach your heart forward.
- Lift your chest and forehead away from the ground as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- You can stay here and breathe or lift your legs away from the ground.
- Your arms can stay where they are or you can lift them away from your back body (be sure to pay attention to how this feels in your shoulders).
- Hold for 5 breaths, and then lower onto your belly.
Make your way onto your back with your feet on the floor, and underneath your knees.
Figure 4 / Eye of the Needle
- Lift your right leg and take your right ankle to your left thigh (closer to your knee than your hip).
- Flex your right ankle.
- If you need more of a stretch for your right hip / glutes, lift your left foot so your left shin is parallel to the ground.
- Flex your left ankle.
- Be sure your chest is open and your shoulder blades are on the ground. Your workday has brought enough rounding through your front body, so keep space across your chest.
- Hold for 5 breaths and lower both feet to the ground.
Repeat on the left side.
- With your feet inner hip-distance apart and your feet under your knees, inhale to lift your hips away from the ground.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears, interlace your fingers underneath your body, and draw your shoulder blades closer together.
- Press down through your feet and see if you can lift your hips higher.
- Feel the back of your head gently press into the floor so that your chest lifts up towards the sky.
- Hold here for 5 breaths.
- Release your hands, move your arms out from under you, and slowly lower your hips onto the earth.
- Let your entire body rest on the ground. Take your legs out wide, let your palms turn up to the sky. Let your eyes soften or completely close.
- Stay here for at least 3 minutes (if you are on a schedule, set an alarm to be sure you don’t stay here longer than you can).
Slowly bring movement into your body, stretch long through your body, roll to one side. Sit up tall, bring your hands to heart centre, and notice how your body feels.
Photo credit: @violetanneyoga