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Thursday, March 25, 2010

a quick desk yoga sequence

earlier this week, ryan from ecollegefinder.org asked me if i could suggest some exercises "... for online college students who spend hours at their desks and computers each day." being computer screen-bound myself most of the day, i told him i'd round up a short routine and get back to him...

the next day, still a bit sore from my 26.2 mile run at the LA marathon last sunday, i decided to restart my yoga practice with a yoga basics class with steven espinosa at the yogaglo studios in santa monica. with the majority of his class made up of beginners, he ran us through a gentle sun salutation sequence, then some standing and seated poses. and as far as i was concerned, it was exactly what i needed.

after class, i posed this question to steven:

if you were seated at a computer all day and wanted to do some quick stretches while remaining seated, what would you do?

he came up with a few that included shoulder, neck, and side stretches that would be ideal for someone who spent long periods of time hunched over a desk. it went something like this:

~ make sure you sit back in your chair, keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground to help protect your lower back.

~ with your arms in front of you, hold your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand (think "i dream of jeannie"). while holding your elbows, raise your arms as far back behind your head as you can. lean your head on your arms and gently push back. look up if you can. you should be feeling this in your shoulders and upper back. relax into the stretch. breathe.

~ still holding your left elbow with your right, release the grip of your left hand. bend your torso to the right. feel the stretch along your left side. hold and breathe. return to vertical, switch arms, and bend to the other side.

~ raise your left arm above your head, bend it behind you like you're about to scratch your back. hold your left elbow with your right hand and gently push your elbow in the direction of your hand. you'll feel the stretch in your left tricep and upper back. hold and breathe. repeat with the other arm.

~ reach over your head with your right hand and hold your left ear. use your right hand to gently bend your head to the right. feel the stretch along the left side of your neck. hold and breathe. repeat on the other side.

~ clasp your hands and place them on top of your head. try to get your elbows to point as far back as you can. while pushing down with your hands, push up with your head. this should give both your neck and your shoulders a nice stretch. hold. release.

i tried it... it's quick, it helps release tension, and i didn't even have to take my eyes of my computer screen as my facebook status updates whizzed past :)

by the way, ecollegefinder.org polled many other yogis and compiled all our suggestions into an article you can read here: Off the Mat and at the Desk: A Comprehensive Yoga Guide for College Students. enjoy!