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  • Writer's pictureJodi

Do it at Your Desk

Desk /Chair Yoga- Postures for Relieving Work Related Stress

Unfortunate as it may be, we all have times where we experience work related stress and negative side effects of our excessive screen time. To help tame your anxiety and give your body and mind a rest, try this short and simple practice. The practice is accessible and quick to implement because all you need is a chair and the willingness to hit pause for 5-10 minutes to take care of yourself during your work day. I would also recommend that you have a quiet space to engage in this practice.


“To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.”

~Eckhart Tolle

The meditation portion of this practice can be done at the beginning of the practice or at the end. Or, you can even practice this meditation all by itself, with or without the chair yoga. It is completely up to you, so try it both ways and see where you like it best. Just be sure to give 5 minutes of the practice to this vital piece.

It has been found that one of the best meditations for anxious people is that of “open monitoring” or “thinking without judging.” Opening monitoring is when one sits and simply notices things that are happening in the environment around them. As you engage in this meditation, notice things such as physical sensations, thoughts, emotions and/or any other external stimuli. Those of us who often feel anxious also feel as if our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and the stimuli around us are crashing over us like violent waves. With open monitoring, you will sit in your quiet space and “see” the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and stimuli but you won’t feel like you are drowning.

Like anything else in life, meditation requires practice. The more you do it, the easier it is to sit in stillness and observe your thoughts but not be overwhelmed by them. So try this open minded/monitoring meditation for 5 minutes a few days in a row, and before you know it, it will become a regular practice in your daily routine.

And remember, “you are not your thoughts”, feelings, and emotions. You are a human that is experiencing and living life.

  • Sit comfortably in a chair

  • Close your eyes and for a minute or two allow your mind to focus on your breath- noticing the inhale and exhale through your nostrils and the rise and fall of your belly

  • Begin to expand your awareness and notice your present physical state (i.e., neck tension, clenched jaw, shoulders hunched near ears, racing thoughts, sounds in your environment, etc.)

  • When something comes to your attention- a thought, emotion, sensation- recognize it, accept it, name it and then let it go without judging it. (e.g. “thoughts are racing”, “my neck is tense”, “worry is happening”)

  • Using the calm, judge free naming allows you to distance yourself from the experience and see it as thing that is happening in your body/mind rather than it being factual or crucial

  • This will allow you to sit with your thoughts, feelings, emotions and allow them to exist and pass away without taking a huge emotional, mental, or physical toll on yourself

Chair Yoga- Simple Practice While Sitting at Your Desk

  • Sun Breath-(stretches the rib cage allowing for deeper breath, stretches the chest which usually contracts during anxiety)

-sit up straight in chair with feel planted on floor, arms down by your sides

Turn your palms upward and take a slow inhale as you circle your arms out to the sides and overhead, connecting your palms

-Exhale, slowly lowering your connected palms behind your neck while lifting your elbows toward the ceiling

-Inhale, bring your palms back up overhead

-Exhale separate your palms and turn them downward as you slowly lower your arms back to your sides- Repeat 3- 5 times

  • Sun Breath Twist(squeezes out the tension in the abdominal area; lifts the rib cage allowing for a deeper, calming breath)

-On an inhale, bring your arms out to your sides and overhead

-on an exhale, maintain length in your spine as you twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the outside of the right knee, and your right arm to the chair

-on an inhale, bring your arms back up overhead as you untwist and back to center

-switch sides; repeat 3 times each side

  • Sun Pose (rhythmic movement of this pose calms the brain structure that can tend to be hyperalert)

-On an inhale, sweep arms out to the sides and overhead.

-On an exhale, turn your palms down and swan dive forward, hinging at the hips- as you come into the fold, place your palms on your lower thighs to protect your back

-on the inhale, press palms against thighs to assist in lifting back up, and finish the inhale by lifting your arms back out to the sides and overhead.

-REPEAT this 6 times-allowing your body to rhythmically flow with your breath

-on the 6th fold, release your hands to the floor, allowing your head to hang for 30 seconds. Bring your forearms to your thighs for a few breaths then slowly come all the way up

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