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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 May 21, 2020

                  The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

                  The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

                  You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

                  Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

                  Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

                  An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

                  Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

                  1. The Paleo Diet

                  The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

                  The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

                  In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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                  How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

                  The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

                  With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

                  It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

                  Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

                  2. Whole30

                  The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

                  With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

                  During the month you are eliminating:

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                  • sugar
                  • alcohol
                  • legumes
                  • grains
                  • dairy
                  • soy

                  Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

                  At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

                  Finding Out How Food Impacts You

                  Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

                  With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

                  This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

                  3. The Mediterranean Diet

                  The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

                  For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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                  With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

                  • Fruits & vegetables
                  • Whole grains
                  • Legumes & nuts
                  • Replacing butter with olive oil
                  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
                  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
                  • Moderate amounts of red wine

                  Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

                  Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

                  With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

                  4. The Alkaline Diet

                  The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

                  The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

                  Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

                  The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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                  People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

                  One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

                  Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

                  There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

                  The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

                  What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

                  The Big Takeaway:

                  Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

                  Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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