Daily Archives: August 18, 2008

Confined spaces/Yoga for office, in flight, trains and automobiles

Living in NYC apartments, working in office cubicles, traveling on airplanes.
These small spaces can make it very difficult to do yoga, but it is possible. Oh yes, you can do yoga in small spaces.
In my last blog entry, I mentioned the few pieces of equipment you can get at sporting goods stores or online and stash in your small apartment or carry in your carry-on baggage while traveling.
So let's talk about yoga in the office.
Whether you have a small cube or an individual office space, it's important in the midst of your day behind a desk or in meetings, that you take the time, even if its just a minute or three or five to break up the day and recharge. You will be more productive and a nicer person if you do.

If you have the opportunity, get outside, take in a deep breath or stare at the sun with your eyes closed. Yes, stare, at the sun, with the eyes close. It's strengthening for the eyes to stare at the sun (not directly) and like flowers, we need to be in the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun, bad, healthy exposure to the sun, vital. We need the sun. Wear sunscreen and the previous will be healthy.
Just tilt head up like a flower, keep eyes closed, turn the corners of your mouth up and breathe deep. All you need is a minute.

If you absolutely must stay indoors or its raining or you are too lazy, here are some fun things to break up your day without breaking up the flow of whatever you are involved with working on.

Seated in your desk chair, keep your face forward toward your computer screen.
Take your gaze up toward the florescent lights without wrinkling your forehead.
Keep the gaze skyward for up to thirty seconds. Then take the gaze all the way to the left, hold for thirty seconds.
Take the gaze all the way to the right, hold.
Take the gaze down and hold.
Your eyes need a good stretch so give it to them. They work hard for you.

Seated twist:
Still in your chair, sit upright, feet hip distance.
Take your left palm to your right knee and you right palm back behind you and reach for the back of the chair. Hold for a few breaths then take the other side.

Head roll:
Take a big breath in. As you exhale, drop your chin down towards your chest. Inhale as you draw your right ear towards your right shoulder. Exhale chin toward the chest. Inhale left ear toward left shoulder, exhale chin to chest. Inhale full head roll over to the right, back, left and center. Then the other side, full rotation.
Add a little juice to your stretch by holding your right palm to your left hear and pressing gently to release and stretch the left side of the neck and other side.

Hip Stretch:
Still seated, I know!!
Cross your right ankle on top of your left knee. Press the right inner thigh down gently. If you have the flexibility, fold forward and take five deep breaths.

Forward fold:
Just plain great to do any time of the day to relieve stress.
Sit in your chair, feet wider than hip distance, feet pointed and extended along the floor. Take a deep breath in and roll all the way down like a rag doll, taking your head as close as between the knees as you can. Stay there for five deep breaths and when you are ready, inhale as you roll back up to seated. Do the same thing again but with flexed feet.

Spine stretch:
Sit half way toward the edge of your seat. Spine long and neutral. Take the hands and place them on the knees. Inhale and arch the pelvis, puffing the heart forward and gazing upwards. Exhale as you round the pelvis, like someone has a hold of your waist and they are pulling you back, chin toward your chest, low back rounding. Do several cycles.

Side stretch:
Hold on to the outside edges of your chair. Inhale, release your right hand, reach up and over towards your left side making a curve and stretching your right side body.
If it is comfortable, front and backstroke your right arm like you are swimming.
Hold for five breaths.
Hold the right side of your chair and reach with your left arm.

Shoulder rolls:
Not to be confused with California rolls. Make circles with your shoulders, forward, up, back and down. Then reverse the direction. Then shrug the shoulders up towards the ears and let'em go. Do that a few times.

Standing leg stretch:
Facing your desk, take your palms and place them at the front edge of your desk, shoulder distance a part. Walk your feet back as far as you can and make a table top with your back. Let the head hang softly.
Take your right foot and bring it toward your desk, making a runners lunge with your left leg. Keep the left heel lifting high and lean into your right leg to stretch.
Change sides. Hold for a bunch of breaths each side.

If you have your own office space or have the time when you come home, lay on the floor and take the legs up the wall or place them on the seat of your desk chair. This is a great way to increase the circulation in the legs and release tension in the legs from a long day at the computer.

I know I'm a little wordy but I'm precise. The whole routine could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Take as little or as much time as you can or just pick an exercise and hour. It'll give you something to look forward to. It will open up your body and release tension.
In turn, it will keep you younger. We always like to hear that.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Be good to yourself, drink lots of water and call your mother.