5 Yoga Poses You Can Do Without Leaving Your Desk Chair

Skip the coffee and focus on your posture.

If you drink coffee after 2 p.m. you’ll be up all night bingewatching Netflix and refreshing Instagram (why isn’t anyone doing anything interesting at 3 a.m.?!)

And while a cookie from the kitchen usually perks you up in the short term, it leaves you crashing an hour later—yawning and snapping at all of your coworkers.

But what if we told you that addressing that terrible posture could provide the energy boost you’re so desperately seeking when the mid-afternoon slump rolls around?

Our posture affects our energy levels as well as our ability to generate positive and negative thoughts that shape our mood. In one experiment, Dr. Erik Peper, San Francisco State University, asked test subjects to either skip, swinging their arms in an upward motion, or slouch as they walked down the hall. Almost all of the skipping participants reported feeling more energetic, happier, and positive. Meanwhile, those who had slouched reported the opposite emotions, feeling sad, lonely, isolated, sleeping, and “zombie-like.”

Sounds like us at 4 p.m., after 7 hours of being slumped over a computer begins to take a toll.

And feeling happier and more energized is far from the the only improvement you’ll feel from taking the time to adjust your posture.

study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University found that sitting up straight reinforced confidence, and another study conducted by Italian researchers found that a group educated on the benefits of good posture and asked to perform posture exercises every two to three hours reported 41 percent fewer headaches, 43 percent less neck and shoulder pain, and a 51 percent reduction in the use of pain medication. Many claim that an upright posture also improves memory because sitting up straight helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain—by up to 40 percent, according to some accounts.

“Emotions and thoughts affect our posture and energy levels; conversely, posture and energy affect our emotions and thoughts,” said one of Peper’s studies. If your emotions, thoughts and energy levels could all use some help, good posture is one common denominator that can improve them all.

But “sitting up straight” is easier said than done. So we suggest taking a 5-minute break to perform a yoga-sequence that will get your body to make the right adjustments. Not only is yoga a sure-fire way to improve your posture over time—but it has also been shown to combat many of the negative side effects that come with slouching at your desk, like tiredness and low energy levels, cognitive focus and speed, and stress and anxiety (you need this proposal submitted in an hour?!).

If you’re lucky enough to have an office with a door, or work in an setting conducive to hitting the floor, here are 5 moves for you to pencil into your mid-afternoon schedule when fatigue sets in. But what if rolling out a mat and dropping into downward dog isn’t exactly socially acceptable office behavior?

Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones, the duo behind SKY TING YOGA, have you covered. You can do these five moves without even leaving your desk chair. The sequence will instantly improve posture, boost your mood and energy levels, and give your productivity a turbo-shot (sans caffeine) to get through the rest of the day.

Ankle To Knee Variation

Place your right ankle over your left knee. Option to lean forward and gently press the right knee down. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Great pose for releasing tension from the hips and glutes.

Twist

Sit to the right side of the chair. Feet parallel under the knees. Grab for the back of your chair with both hands. Sit up tall and turn to face the back of your chair. Hold five breaths on each side. Great for spinal health.

Gomukasana Arm Variation

Reach the right arm over head. Bend the elbow and reach the middle of your back. Sweep the left hand behind you and connect your hands to touch. If the hands don’t find each other—grab hold of your shirt. Hold 5 breaths on each side. Helps to alleviate shoulder tension and open the chest.

Forward Folds (Two Options)

1. If you have a stable chair with a level seat, you can stand on your chair and hang over your legs. Grab the chair seat.

2. Otherwise, stand 1 foot away from your chair and lean hands or forearms onto the chair seat. Hold for 10-20 breaths. Great for relieving lower back tension. Bonus points for closing the eyes to give them a rest from the computer screen.

Legs Up The Chair

Lie on the floor and swing your calves and feet onto the seat of the chair. Hold for as long as you want. Great for circulation and relaxation for the nervous system.

Join Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones this Saturday, February 18, for Art of Yoga at the Brooklyn Museum. They will be leading a yoga class, with music accompaniment and a sound-bath meditation by Aya and Tyler. Get your tickets here!

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