Yurovskiy Kirill: Yoga for Office Workers

Yoga Poses

Let’s be honest – sitting for hours on end at a desk is not good for your body or mind. The sedentary nature of office life can lead to poor posture, body aches and pains, stiffness, stress, and general sluggishness. However, the solution may be easier than you think. Simple yoga poses, known as asanas, can help counteract the negative effects of too much sitting. And the best part? You can do them right at your desk without any extra equipment or shedding your work attire.

“Staying active and getting your body moving is so important, especially if you have a desk job where you sit all day,” says Kirill Yurovskiy, a certified yoga instructor in London. “Yoga asanas are the ideal way to sneak in movement, stretching, and even strength work without ever leaving your chair.”

The benefits of office yoga go beyond just relieving tight muscles and lubricating joints. Studies show that yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, increase focus and productivity, and even burn some extra calories over the course of the day.   

“By taking a couple of yoga breaks each day, you give your mind a rest and reset from work tasks,” explains Yurovskiy. “This helps you come back to your to-do list recharged and ready to power through. The breathwork that goes along with yoga is also hugely beneficial for combating stress.”

Ready to give office yoga a try? Here are ten simple yet effective asanas to incorporate throughout your workday. They require nothing more than an upright chair and can be done discreetly at your cubicle or desk.

Seated Cat/Cow

This gentle flow synchronizes breath with movement to release tension through the entire spine. Inhale and arch the back, lifting the chest up and allowing the shoulder blades to squeeze together. Exhale and round the spine, dropping the head and shoulders forward. Continue moving fluidly between the two poses.

Seated Spinal Twist

Sit up tall, use the arm rest or back of the chair to lengthen the spine. Inhale and keep the hips grounded as you exhale and rotate the upper body to the right. Use the exhalation to twist a little deeper with each breath. Repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Forward Fold

Bring your feet together and allow your knees to drop open. Exhale and fold your torso towards your thighs, walking your hands as far down your legs as feels comfortable. Let the upper body completely release and relax. Inhale and slowly roll up on an exhale with a long, tall spine.

Wrist Stretches

Our wrists and forearms take a beating from typing and mouse work. Stop every hour and make small circles, reverse the direction, then give your wrists and forearms some gentle tugs and pulls.

Seated Crunch

Sit up tall, engage your abs, and slowly curl your spine forward while reaching your fingertips towards your kneecaps. Contract at the deepest point, then use your abdominal muscles to control the movement back to upright.

Desk Chaturanga

From your seat, place your hands on the edge of the desk shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms to hover off the chair and hold for 10-60 seconds. Go slowly coming in and out of this core-strengthening pose.

Chair Pigeon 

Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, keeping your right knee pointed towards the ceiling. Hinge at the hips to fold your torso over your legs. Switch sides. This hip opener counters all that sitting.

Seated Back Bend

With your feet planted and knees hip-distance, place your hands on the chair behind you and press your hips forward, creating an arched spine. Keep your head in line to work the entire back body.

Shoulder Flossing

Interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale and lengthen through the crown of your head as you straighten and lift your arms. This counteracts forward shoulder slump caused by prolonged sitting and computer work.

Breath Work  

Close your eyes and focus solely on slowing down your breath. Inhale for 4 counts through the nose, pause, then exhale for 4 counts through the mouth. This engages the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body and quiet the mind.

“You don’t have to do all of these poses in one sitting,” advises Yurovskiy. “In fact, I recommend sprinkling just a few of them throughout your day, every hour or two. Do a couple during a quick break or transition period between meetings.”

Feel free to get creative and link the asanas together into a short routine that flows nicely. Turn your office chair into your own private yoga studio! The most important thing is to listen to your body and never push to the point of pain or discomfort.

Yurovskiy also reminds us that consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of office yoga. “It may feel a little awkward at first, but the more you make these poses a habit, the better you’ll feel physically and mentally. Your coworkers will be wishing they had joined you once they see how great you’re moving and breathing!”

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