By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Which asanas and techniques would work best in an office, when space is an issue for office Yoga classes? Pranayama is most important, but let’s look at solutions for Yoga posturing, and getting better blood circulation in the legs, within a finite amount of space.
If you are limited to the confines of your cubicle for space, you can still take care of your back, release muscle tension, and get some circulation into your legs with office Yoga. There are many office Yoga postures (asanas), and Yogic exercises, to perform, but here are a four that will help you during the work day.
Leg Circles – You can perform leg circles in a variety of ways. You can cycle a single leg forward and backward – as you would a bicycle. You can also do the same movement with two legs at once. This cycling movement is most commonly seen in shoulder stand, but we are sitting in an office chair for this one. By using two legs at once, the abdominal muscles, and arms, will work a bit harder.
Leg circles can also be performed, similar to the Pilates leg circle. This movement engages inner and outer thigh muscles. Yet, the most important benefit for office workers is getting circulation in the legs, to prevent swelling, due to the pooling of fluid in lower legs, and to prevent blood clotting.
Camel (Ustrasana) in a chair – This is a back bending movement. Office workers should do this four to eight times, or more, per day, to counter pose all the natural slouching from staring at the computer monitor.
However, this back bend should originate from the center of the back. Care should be taken to avoid jamming the low back and to avoid hyper-extending the neck. People with back and neck problems should consult their physician before practicing Camel posture.
Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) in a chair – You may want to move your sit bones half way forward in your chair for this Yoga posture. This forward bending movement is a good “counter pose” to Camel posture. You should not force your body into a deep Seated Forward Bend posture. Your breath should be your guide for the amount of depth you find comfortable. The spine should be kept as straight as possible.
Seated Spinal Twist – There are many variations of Seated Spinal Twist, but the spine should be straight while holding this posture. Some variations focus on the lower, middle, or upper back. You can also cross your legs or leave your feet flat on the ground. Therefore, you may want to mix it up for best results.
The breath should not be held, while performing a Seated Spinal Twist, even though it may feel natural to do so. Seated Spinal Twist lubricates the spine, aids in digestion, increases the elasticity of connective tissue to the spine, prevents backaches, and massages the internal organs.
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