- Sitting down for long periods of time has a negative effect on the body.
- Chair yoga poses such as the raised hands pose and seated chest lift can help combat the negative effects of sedentary behavior.
- It is essential to take good care of your body, and work should not stop you from maintaining excellent physical and mental health.
You work in front of your office computer during your eight-to-five shift. You go home and spend another hour or two with your laptop to surf the net and check on your social media accounts. Then, you turn on your television to watch your favorite TV series. Whether we like it or not, we spend too much time sitting down; and this lack of physical activity is bad for our well-being, mentally and physically. Studies reveal that too many hours spent deskbound or inactive produce several negative health outcomes, which include fatigue, depression and cardiovascular diseases (1, 2, 3).
For most of us, working is necessary; and since most of us have desk jobs, all our working hours will be spent sitting in a chair. Does this mean we are all doomed to an unhealthy life? Of course not! We all have a choice — where there’s a will, there’s a way. The way to go, in this case, is chair yoga.
How Do We Start?
To combat dangerous sedentary behavior, you can do chair yoga poses any time of day. Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. It started in India and has now gained vast popularity around the world. Yoga has been known to minimize stress, improve mood and reduce depression (4, 5). There have also been studies confirming the potential of yoga as a stroke rehabilitation treatment (6).
Chair yoga poses are effective ways to improve breathing, blood circulation and overall health. The best thing about them is you can do them anywhere. Here are a few chair yoga poses you can easily practice at your workplace.
Raised Hands Pose
This is done by raising your arms to the ceiling with your fingers pointed upward as you take a deep breath. Exhale while moving your hands down, back to your sides. You can do this several times before you proceed to the next pose.
This simple pose starts with you sitting down with your back straight and both arms at your sides. Bend your upper body forward over your legs as you exhale and let the back of your hands touch the floor. Take a deep breath and raise your arms up over your head, in a chair raised hands pose.
Seated Chest Lift
Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Position your hands behind you with your fingers pointing away from your body. Inhale and lift your chest, and release your hands as you exhale.
First, position your right leg on the right side of the chair and let your left leg stretch on the other side. Keep your feet planted on the floor. Your upper body should face the right side. Take a deep breath and raise your arms up with your fingers pointing to the ceiling.
Release your breath and open your arms. Move your right hand forward and your left hand on the opposite side. Inhale and let your left arm fall back and touch your left leg with your right arm raised up, palms facing behind you and fingers pointing the same way.
Do the same for the opposite side.
Because of busy schedules and long lists of to-dos, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Be mindful of your body and health, and spend a little time at work doing these beneficial chair yoga poses.
- “Introducing sit-stand desks increases classroom standing time among university students”, Jerome, M., et. al.,
- “Sitting Time: An Increasing Heath Risk Among Nurse Educators”, Main, ME, et al. 2017.
- “Effects of an Intervention to Reduce Sitting at Work on Arousal, Fatigue, and Mood Among Sedentary Female Employees: A Parallel-Group Randomized Trial”, Mailey, EL, et al., 2017.
- “Effects of Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, a Multicomponent Breath-Based Yogic Practice (Pranayama), on Perceived Stress and General Well-Being”, Peterson, CT., et al., 2017.
- “Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Iyengar Yoga and Coherent Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Dosing Study”, Streeter, CC, et al., 2017.
- “Yoga for stroke rehabilitation”, Lawrence, M., et al., 2017.