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As part of the second instalment of our Wellness Series, yoga instructor Susie Hemsted tells us how to keep moving and stretching with desk yoga.

As most of the nation has transitioned to a ‘working from home’ lifestyle, the days of walking over to your colleagues’ desk, a five-minute tea break in the kitchen, or skipping to the vending machine at 3pm, are temporarily on hold.

Sitting at a desk for hours places unnecessary strain on the lower back, overstretches the mid to upper back \(from the hunch!\) and shortens the front of the hips, which leads to neck, shoulder, and low back pain.

So let’s give the body some loving. This simple ‘desk yoga’ sequence promises an instant reset, allowing you to rinse out any kinks throughout the day.

1. Neck Stretches

Drop your left ear towards your left shoulder and hold. Feel the deep stretch and release through the right side of your neck. It should feel really good! For some extra juice, start to lift and lower your chin very slowly and gently. If you find a super tight spot, close down the eyes and breathe into it. Take 1-2 minutes like this, then repeat on the right side.

2. Seated Cat and Cow

Cat cow is a beautiful dance between flexion and extension of the spine.

As you breathe out, bring the backs of the hands together, round through the spine [like you are hunching] and bring your chin to your chest.

When you breathe in, open your arms wide [as if you are swimming breaststroke], lifting the heart & chin to the sky and squeezing the shoulders towards the spine.

Linger in the spots that feel tight or sticky, breathe into them and feel the release.

Repeat 10 times.Closing down the eyes can make this a meditative practise.

3. Hands interlaced behind the back

Interlace the hands at the lower back, squeeze shoulders together and lift the fist away from the lower back.

Close down the eyes and take 5 slow deep, breaths. Hunching is very normal whilst sitting at a desk, so this simple stretch quickly resets the shoulders and spine.

4. Seated spinal twist

You’ll be working into the lower lumbar spine with this seated spinal twist. Take the left hand behind the back and the right hand onto the left knee.

Imagine a golden chord coming out the top of your head. As you breathe in, feel the golden chord lifting you up [lengthening the spine], and as you breathe out feel the left shoulder blade being drawn backwards [as if someone is pulling your shoulder back].

Take 5 breaths like this and then repeat on the second side.

5. Desk Down Dog

Stand one metre away from the desk, reach out your arms to the desk, feel your hips drawing backwards and a deep stretch down the sides of your waist and maybe into the back of your legs.

Your body will be in an L shape. Hold and breathe for 5 breaths.

Try these stretches when you are waiting for something to print, a meeting to start, or as you log off at the end of the day. Your body and mind will love you for it!

Next time, Susie provides a beginners guide to meditation and the 5 most common mistakes that most new meditators will make. Stay tuned, it’s coming soon.

Are you curious about meditation but not sure what’s best for your personality, lifestyle and preferences? Take Susie's quiz here to help you find out.

To keep up to date with Susie and hear more about her Online Meditation Course in January 2021, you’ll find her here:

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