I Should Go Do Yoga....At Work
So unless you've really nailed the whole 'work-life balance' or 'prioritising self-care' thing (which by the way, I urge you to try and do!) finding time to do yoga can be hard. I get it; until you adjust your mindset to make it your priority, it ain't going to happen, but that's OK!
To help people just like you I've put together a few basic yoga postures which you can do any time during your work day (they'll take you about 10 minutes all together) which will help ease back, neck and shoulder tension and keep you feeling refreshed and energised!
To really feel the benefits, try to focus on the breath throughout the poses, which will relax the mind as well as the body, giving it a much-needed break from your work!
Neck Warm Up
Start sitting upright, roll your shoulders back a couple of times and then relax them away from your ears. Rest your hands on your thighs and gently drop your chin down towards your chest. Don't roll your upper back or shoulders, just your chin. Breathe into the stretch in the back of your neck for 5 breaths, or longer if that feels good.
Now gently draw your nose upwards and drop the back of the head backwards softly, until you feel a stretch in your throat. This can feel a little weird, so focus on the breath and don't force it!
Bring your nose back to centre, and drop the right ear towards the right shoulder (5 breaths) then repeat on the left side.
I love this one; it really sorts out a hunching posture, and opens up the chest letting you breathe freely!
Interlace your fingers and turn your palms away from you. Inhale and lift your hands overhead, stretching out through the arms and armpits. Exhale and roll the spine forwards, pressing back between the shoulder-blades and sucking the navel in, while simultaneously pressing the palms forwards.
Repeat this action for as many breaths as feels good!
Seated Forward-Fold with Shoulder Stretch
Now interlace your fingers behind your back and roll your shoulders back so your shoulder-blades squeeze together. Keep your feet flat on the floor to stabilise you.
Pressing the fingers (not the palms) away from you, and squeezing the elbows and shoulder blades together, fold forward and send the hands up and overhead as far as you can.
Rest your belly on your thighs and let your head hang heavy. Don't force your hands up and overhead, just work with your natural range of movement, and now connect with your breath. Close your eyes and breathe in and out for 5 breaths, or longer if you can, gently inching the hands higher on every exhale.
This posture really gets into the hips, which tend to go to sleep/get lost forever if you're seated all day. With your left foot flat on the floor, cross your right ankle over your left knee. Keep your right foot flexed and active (see image) to really get into the hip.
Sitting up straight, relax into your breath and try and work the knee down slightly so the right shin works towards parallel with the floor.
Breathe here for 5 breaths, or longer, and then repeat on the other side.
With both feet flat on the floor, sit up nice and straight. This will create some space in the spine into which we'll twist. *Note: if you don't sit up straight first you could injure yourself, so don't forget this step!
Take a deep breath in, and on the exhale twist to the left, bringing the right hand to the left chair-arm, or to the outside of your left knee and pulling backwards to deepen the twist. Try to work the shoulders round to face the left, rather than just twisting from the neck.
Breathe here for 5 breaths or longer if that feels good, and then repeat on the other side.
I would recommend trying these postures at least once a day, but if you can get them in twice a day that would be even better! Remember, these aren't a substitute from a longer yoga class, but are great for those really busy days when you just can't find the time.