I read an article recently about how awesome lunchtime yoga is and it’s so true. Unfortunately, I don’t often get to practice at lunch and sometimes I’m actually teaching the lunchtime class instead of taking it.
Still, I count myself as blessed whenever I’m able to make it to a midday class because it certainly makes the afternoons more productive and does a fabulous job of staving off the dreaded afternoon slump.
But why should those with flexible schedules be the only ones to benefit from lunchtime yoga? Arguably, those whose schedules don’t allow for a lunchtime trip to the local studio are the ones who need a little midday yoga love the most.
So if you want all the goodness of a trip to the studio without having to worry about not making it back to your desk in time for the next meeting, here are a few poses you can do right where you are to get the blood flowing again and shake off the cobwebs you’ve accumulated in your muscles and joints throughout your day.
6 Yoga Poses to Help You Power Through Your Day
1. Office Chair Down Dog. Stand in front of your chair (or your desk) and place your palms on the armrests (or the edge of your desk). Step your feet back far enough that you can straighten your arms as you fold forward — hinged from the hips — into an L-shape. Keep your knees soft to avoid locking them. Let your chest sink toward the floor and relax your neck and jaw. Hold here for 30 to 60 seconds then come up slowly.
Stretches your shoulders, chest, spine and hamstrings.
2. Office Chair Lunge. First, lock or secure the wheels of your chair so that you don’t accidentally end up in an Office Chair Split — yikes! Then place one foot on top of the seat and stand on the ball of your back foot, pressing your back heel down and straightening your back leg as much as possible. Let your hips sink down lower as you breathe. Hold onto the armrests of the chair for stability. Stay here for 30 to 60 seconds then switch legs.
Stretches your psoas, hip flexors, quads, calves and Achilles.
3. Seated Pigeon with a Twist. Cross your left ankle over your right thigh just above your knee. Bring your right shoulder toward your left knee, cradling your knee with your right arm. Sit up nice and tall to lengthen your spine. Twist from your belly button and look out over your left shoulder. Hold here for 30 to 60 seconds then repeat on the other side.
Stretches your neck, shoulders, spine, hips and glutes.
4. Office Chair Camel. Sit near the edge of your chair. Place your hands on the armrests behind you with your fingers facing your hips. Press down into the armrests, spread your collarbones and begin to lift your chest to create an arch in your upper back. Hold here for 30 to 60 seconds.
Stretches your chest, shoulders and abs.
5. Cow Face Arms. Bring your right arm up beside your right ear and bend your elbow to drop the hand behind your upper back, palm facing into your body. Bring your left elbow down along the left side of your body and bend the elbow so that your left hand reaches up your back palm facing out. If you aren’t able to clasp your hands in this position, you can use a strap, belt or the sleeve of your jacket to help bridge the gap between your hands. Stay here for 30 to 60 seconds and switch the position of your hands — left arm up and over and right arm down and around.
Stretches your shoulders, chest and arms.
6. Seated Forward Fold. Place your feet about hip-width distance apart and sit up tall. Roll your shoulders up, around and down. Walk your hands down your legs and rest your belly on your thighs. Let your head and hands hang. Stay here for 60 seconds before slowly rolling up to a seated position.
Stretches your spine and hamstrings while calming your nervous system.
Extra Credit: Sun Breaths. With your right hand, fold your index and middle fingers down so that they touch your palm right at the base of your thumb. Using your ring and pinky fingers, close off your left nostril. Place your thumb at your right nostril and take a long inhale through your right nostril. Then, close your right nostril with your thumb and take a long exhale out your left nostril. Repeat this pattern of breathing in through your right nostril and out your left nostril for 2-3 minutes.
Energizes so you can wrap up the day like a boss.
How do you beat the afternoon slump? —Alison