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Yoga Hacks That Will Loosen You Up at Work

Yoga Hacks That Will Loosen You Up at Work

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    Does your neck freeze when you look up at the clock and see there are five or six hours left in your workday? Before you reach for a painkiller, there is something you should try. Yoga. Not your mother’s kind, where you stand on  your head, but a more gentle and mindful approach. You can ease muscle and mental tension with a few exercises that you can do while sitting in your chair or taking a five minute breather in the bathroom stall. The health benefits of yoga are well known, and it is a low-impact exercise. Here are some yoga hacks which nearly anyone can do whether at a desk, in your car, or at home.

    Warning: As with any exercise, do it only as far as you are comfortable, and be gentle with your body. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen. Yoga is not meant to be exhausting or physically painful. These exercises can be repeated 3-5 times.

    Mandukasana

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    mpuech_Uttana_Shishosana

      Good for small spaces, and even something you might be able to attempt from your desk chair, Mandukasana involves sitting in a kneeling type pose and leaning forward. Start on the floor, with a good thick carpet, towel, pillow or yoga mat under your body to give it support. Bend your legs at the knees and tuck them underneath you so that you are sitting on your calves in a kneeling position. Left palm on belly button, right palm on left hand. Now press both hands on your abdomen. Exhale and bend yourself forward as if you are trying to touch the ground with your forehead, keeping hands on abdomen. Stay there for ten to fifteen seconds and then bring your upper body back up on an inhale.

      Modified Mandukasana: start sitting in your chair. Position your hands as in the usual Mandukasana. Be careful when bending forward to only go as far as is comfortable. If you are able, try folding your legs crossed or straight as though kneeling underneath you while sitting in your chair. Make sure your head does not hit your desk or other furniture. This position may not be possible for everyone, so just give it your best shot.

      Cat-Cow Modified Bend

      sport_Khagarnasana

        Begin sitting in your chair, both feet flat on the ground, even distance apart. Rest your palms on your knees. On an inhaled breath gently arch your back (like a cow’s arched back) and look up toward the ceiling. As you exhale, round your spine (like a cat’s rounded spine when startled) and let your head drop forward.

        Forward Bend

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          With both feet flat on the floor and even distance apart, sit in your chair, pushed away from your desk with enough room to lean all the way forward. Clasp your hands behind your back, over your head, fingers gently laced together. Now straighten your arms. Inhale and hold. Feel your torso gently bend at the waist as though it’s on a hinge, body bending forward and hands over your back. Exhale and rest your upper body on your thighs.

          Eagle Arms

          sport_garudasana

            Bend your arms with your fingers pointing at the ceiling. Try to make a 90 degree angle with your bent arms. Now bring your right arm over your left arm. Rest right elbow inside left inner elbow and let your palms gently touch. Gently lift your elbows, trying not to lift your shoulders. Reverse and repeat.

            Sectional Breathing

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              A basic tenet of yoga is the breath. The breath is the foundation of all other poses and the tempo at which those poses are formed. Sectional breathing focuses on regulating your breath and releasing muscle tension. Sit comfortably, head up and even with spine, back against your chair, feet flat on the floor and not crossed. Put your palms on your abdomen, fingers barely touching, heels of hands facing sides of body. Breathe into your hands, feeling your abdomen rise as your breath comes in. Exhale, feeling your abdomen deflate like a balloon. Take six even breaths.

              Now bring your hands up onto your ribcage with thumbs on the back ribs. Breathe into your ribs, as above. Repeat six times.

              Finally, bring your hands to the front of your shoulders, fingers touching your collarbones. Breathe into your collarbones and feel them rise and fall, filling your upper body and making your shoulders rise toward your head as your chest expands. Repeat six times.

              Half Lord of the Fishes (adapted), a.k.a., Seated Back Twist

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                Sit sideways in your chair, the back against one side. With both feet even distance apart and flat on the floor, begin to gently twist toward the back of your chair while holding the back with both hands. Turn the chair’s back to your other side and gently twist that way while holding on to the back.

                Chair Pidgeon

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                  Bring your left ankle up until it is resting on your right thigh, keeping your right knee lined up with the right ankle. Hold for five breaths. Switch sides and repeat. For a more intense stretch you can bend forward while holding this pose.

                  Remember to Breathe

                  You may find now that your shoulders, arms, legs and back are stretched you no longer feel quite as seat-bound and pained. These poses can help wake you up or energize you throughout the day, and will definitely improve your posture and breathing—both important in jobs with mental work and sitting involved.

                  Featured photo credit: yoga-dancer-sky-blue-rocks-241609/Public Domain via pixabay.com

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                  Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                  To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                  Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                  1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                  Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                  Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                  To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                  2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                  Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                  If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                  Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                  3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                  Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                  Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                  4. Feed Your Brain

                  Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                  This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                  Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                  Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                  5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                  According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                  Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                  Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                  6. Write it Down

                  If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                  It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                  You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                  7. Listen to Music

                  Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                  8. Visual Concepts

                  In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                  Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                  Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                  9. Teach Someone Else

                  Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                  Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                  10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                  Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                  So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                  Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                  More About Boosting Memory

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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