By Sara Angle, SELF
I sit at a desk ALLLL day, as do most of my colleagues (we’re not at the gym all day, swear.) And what better way to stretch it out than with a few yoga poses? (We have staffers who swear by it for morning efficiency.) So needless to say I was excited when I learned about a new yoga series created by Rina Jakubowicz, owner of Rina Yoga studios in Miami, designed to work against the stressors of office life and stretch and strengthen muscles that take a beating from sitting at a desk all day. Jakubowicz noticed a spike in corporate clients looking to de-stress and decided to make it her mission to bring energy up and stress levels down in just a few minutes a day.
“The daily pressures we feel at work are brought on by our over-reactive sympathetic nervous system, or our fight-or-flight response, where our sense of stress and panic comes from an email that wasn’t sent on time, not actual danger. Which is exhausting! It is essential to shut down that part of our brains, even for a few minutes. These mini breaks for you to reconnect within yourself and “reboot” are imperative for your system’s optimal health,” says Jakubowicz. She gave us this quick-hit routine designed to make you feel alert, alive and duh, fit as always.
1. Sun Salutations
How It Works: Start by standing on your mat in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Follow these 7 simple steps through your first Sun Salutation. Repeat 2 more times. Don’t you feel better already?!
What It Does: Sun Salutations will help to increase circulation after sitting at your desk all day or after waking up in the morning. Repeating the series of poses will loosen the joints and generates a strong and healthy spine.
2. Frisk Pose
How It Works: Stand facing a wall with your feet about two to three feet away from it and place your hands on the wall at eye level, feet hip-width apart. As you exhale, drop your chest below your hands while rotating your pelvis and lifting your hips up towards the ceiling. Relax your head and take 10 deep breaths
What It Does: Frisk Pose relieves tension from the back and shoulders from being slumped over your desk all day.
3. Triangle Pose
How It Works: Separate your legs about three feet apart facing the side of your mat, right foot parallel to the mat, left foot angled slightly in. With straight legs and thighs spiraled away from you, extend your arms out, parallel to the floor. Lean over the right leg and drop the right hand down to the floor, lifting the left arm up towards the ceiling. Lengthen the sides of the body and swivel the navel to the left as you look up, towards the left thumb. Take 5 deep breaths on the right side. Inhale lift up the chest and change sides.
What It Does: Triangle pose strengthens the legs and core and stretches the side body, part of the torso rarely activated in our daily activities. Going into this pose helps release stagnation, which occurs after sitting in a chair for long periods of time.
4. Prasarita Padittanasana (Wide Legged Forward Bend)
How It Works: Separate your legs about 4 feet apart, feet are parallel to each other. Interlace your fingers behind your back, keeping your arms straight. Keeping a flat back, inhale to open the chest and exhale as you bend forward between your legs, bringing your head to the ground. Take 5 deep breaths and then inhale as you lift the chest, exhale as you come back to standing.
What It Does: I chose to include those pose for sequence because it relieves a lot of lower back tension in addition to stretching the hamstrings and the shoulders at the same time, which are two areas of the body that get tight very easily with lack of movement. Also, this pose is a mini inversion with the hips located higher than the head. Reversal of the blood flow helps increase circulation and makes your heart healthier and also helps your brainpower for further productivity and clarity.
What It Does: Starfish triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your spine to relax while still experiencing a stretch. You also stretch out your shoulders and chest while giving into gravity instead of using strength.
How It Works: Lie down on your stomach and extend your right arm above your head and left arm out to the side. Bend your left leg toward your chest as you inhale and lift the chest and left arm up reaching backwards toward the right side of your mat. Pull your left knee in towards the body slightly to create a spinal twist. Return to start.
Feel relaxed and stretched? I wanna know! Tweet me at @SaraAngle22 and @SELFmagazine.
Moves: Courtesy of Rina Yoga Studios
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