The health benefits of yoga have long been preached about by our more limber friends, but it isn’t just physical wellbeing that can be gained from this 11th century practice. Knowing the right moves and how to perform them can actually improve your concentration, decrease anxiety and ease the aches and pains of your day-to-day work-life. Where do we sign up?
For: Aching backs
Pose: Cobra Pose
Perfect for stretching out an achy spine after sitting in a chair all day, Cobra Pose is super easy to perform, opening up the chest, stretching the spine and helping you feel more positive.
Start by lying flat on your stomach, then place your hands at shoulder height and push your upper body off the ground, arching your back and sending the gaze straight ahead. You should feel the stretch in your lower back, arms and chest.
For: Tired eyes
Pose: Eye rolling + palming
Staring at a computer screen for 8+ hours a day isn’t ideal for your eyes, tiring them out and playing havoc with your sleeping pattern. So to give them a break, start by sitting upright with a long spine and relaxed breath. Soften the muscles around your eyes, direct your gaze upwards and slowly roll your eyes in a clockwise direction, tracing as large a circle as possible.
Repeat three times, then close the eyes and relax. Rub your hands together for 10 to 15 seconds until they feel warm and energized. Then gently place your hands over your eyes, leaving a hollow between palm and eye. Enjoy the soothing darkness for anywhere between a few seconds to five minutes.
For: Neck pain
Pose: Child’s Pose
Although you might feel more productive when hunched over your keyboard, if you do so for any length of time then neck pain and stiffness is almost inevitable. To avoid the dreaded popping sound of a neck being cracked, start by kneeling on the floor and sit on your heels.
Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs, broadening your pelvis, so that your hips rest on the inner thighs. Lengthen your neck and spine by stretching your head away from the back of your neck and resting it on the floor. Rest your hands on the floor beside your body, backs of the hands on the floor. Stay here for between 1-3 minutes.
For: Sore muscles
Pose: Corpse Pose
You might be sitting down all day but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get sore and achy muscles! We’ve all experienced those frustrating niggles that just can’t be stretched away, so maybe it’s time to relax instead. Ideal at the end of the day, the delightfully named Corpse Pose is easy to master.
Start by lying on your back on the floor, then squeeze your knees into your chest and release your legs to the floor, shoulder width apart, toes pointing outwards. Arms lie by your sides, chest open, palms up. Gently press the small of your back to the floor and relax, letting your mind wander for a few minutes. Enjoy.
For: Concentration boost
Pose: Tree Pose
Experiencing a post-lunch slump? Want to grab your sixth coffee of the day? Well, hold your horses. For a quick concentration boost, we recommend one of the most common yoga poses, Tree Pose, which helps to hone your concentration, as you must maintain your balance on only one leg.
Taking one knee in your hand, hold it out to the side and attempt to balance. Once you feel comfortable, take the foot and place it on the opposite thigh or calf (as long as you avoid placing the foot on your knee), with your toes pointing to the floor. You should then hold the prayer position with your hands, or if you feel you can, raise the arms above the head.
For: Quick mood boost
Pose: Downward Dog
Feeling a bit glum? Suffering from SAD because of the dark, cold mornings and minimal sunlight? Never fear, yoga is here to brighten your mood! Downward Facing Dog is an iconic yoga pose and is a great mood booster, as it improves blood flow to the brain, whilst stretching your whole body.
With both hands on the floor, and arms outstretched, form an upside down V with your body, so your legs are out behind you – heels just off the floor. Your head should hang between your arms, reach your torso toward your thighs, and send the heels down toward the floor (it's ok if they don't touch!). You should feel the stretch in your arms, and calves. When you can, raise one leg whilst holding the rest of the position, and hold for thirty seconds.
For: Those who don’t like getting out of their seat
Pose: Seated Yoga Sequence
If you don’t have the space - or the inclination - to get up out of your seat and strike a pose, then we’ve prepared this next sequence just for you! Start with a warm up of seated neck rolls, gently rolling your head and neck in a clockwise motion 3-5 times, then anti-clockwise 3-5 times.
Next, for the Seated Mountain Pose, sit up straight in your chair, roll your shoulders back and relax your arms at your sides. Gently engage the abs, pulling your navel in towards your spine, keep feet flat on the floor and inhale through your nose as your raise your arms above your head. Keep shoulders down and relaxed, whilst gazing up between your hands.
To finish the sequence, lower your arms back down and reset your straight back, shoulders down and engaged abs. The final pose is the Seated Cat. Inhaling, arch your back slowly, starting at the top, and look upwards, raising your chin. When you exhale, let the head drop, spine curl, and slowly tuck the chin in towards your chest.
These moves are better complemented by using a yoga mat to protect your skin, drinking water throughout a session, and making sure you’re in a warm room.