Have you seen the stats about how many work days are lost to stress-related illness each year?
It’s a lot.
And it costs a lot.
And it’s not much fun either.
Consequently, many people and businesses are awakening to what can be done to remedy this and turning to… office yoga!
Yes! Office yoga is a thing and we invited Cathy Bailey, Yoga Teacher, and founder of Office Om to tell us all abut it and share some simple poses that we can practice in-between content meetings.
Seated forward stretch
Noticed some tension in your upper body? Try a seated forward stretch to release tension in your upper back and shoulders. Link your hands together, stretch your arms out in front of you, turn your fingers away, drop your head between your arms if that feels okay for your body and breathe into any tension you can feel.
Hold for as long as feels good for your body before releasing slowly.
Seated upwards stretch
After spending a long time sitting, our energy and body can slump downwards. Counterbalance this by stretching your body upwards. Clasp your hands again in front of you, relax your shoulders down your back, then lift your hands outwards and upwards.
Turn your hands so your palms are facing towards the ceiling. Make your spine long and ensure your shoulders are relaxed and moving down your back whilst your arms stretch upwards. Tuck your chin in and feel the stretch from the base of your spine to the tops of your fingers.
Take a few slow deep breaths before releasing. Repeat whenever you want to feel good.
Seated shoulder opener
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, hunched over a keyboard or bent over, try a mini-backbend to re-open your chest area.
Seated with your pelvis in a neutral position (neither tilted back nor forward) and your ribs over your hips, link your fingers behind your back, stretch your hands towards the base of your spine and feel your chest opening up. Breathe into your chest area and release when ready.
Notice how you feel after this energising pose.
Feeling stressed about getting through the day? Got a pressing deadline or a challenging meeting coming up? Warrior poses can help you feel strong and confident.
Taking your feet about a leg-length apart, turn a front foot outwards and your rear foot inwards, bend your front knee so it remains above your ankle and keep your back leg straight.
Raise your arms to shoulder height (a straight line from fingertip to fingertip is great) and feel strong and confident like a warrior.
Tough day pose
Had a tough day? Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you have to do? A downward dog at a wall or using the back of your chair can help.
Place your hands just below shoulder height on a surface that isn’t moving, walk your feet back into the room moving your body towards a right angle, or whatever feels right for your body. You are aiming to lengthen the spine and to feel a good stretch down the backs of your legs. This pose is brilliant for counterbalancing the effects of too much sitting.
When you are ready to come out, walk your feet towards your hands and come up slowly. Pause and smile before returning to whatever it is you need to be doing.
Cathy Bailey is a BACP registered counsellor, a Yoga Alliance 200hr trained yoga teacher and the founder of Office Om. Cathy turned to yoga after experiencing stress and anxiety in her twenties. She found mindfulness, yoga and counselling helped her thorough the tough times.
Cathy practices mindfulness and yoga daily, and has studied these in various forms since the late 1990s. She started counselling training in 2004 and trained as a yoga teacher a few years later. Today, Cathy teaches mindfulness techniques, office yoga moves and wellbeing wisdom, which can be blended into your usual activities. It’s here to make daily lives just that little bit better.