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Erica Bornstein is a yoga teacher, dancer, and lover of all movement. Erica believes that yoga can be an embodied art form, a stimulated workout, a lifestyle, a tool for therapeutic relaxation, or a form of spirituality. Overall, yoga is an accommodating practice, accessible to all people, that requires only loving care for the mind and body and the willingness to cherish your own breath. Erica also believes that you only live once and you shouldn't torture yourself with workouts you don't enjoy!

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The Dancing Yogini

 
by Erica Bornstein, Yoga, Dance, and Fitness Instructor

 
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I know some of us feel as though we are chained to our desks, clicking away, blankly staring at our computer screens, and overall just sitting for way too long. Most of us need to relieve some tension building up in our back, neck, hips and shoulders.

Yoga at Your Desk!I realize we don't always have time during the day to leave the office and go for a nice long walk outside (although you should if you can!). A little office yoga may be just what you need in a time crunch. We get so restless and uncomfortable sitting all day, that it would be nice to roll out a yoga mat and whip out downward facing dog, but this may be a little unrealistic in your office setting. But instead of just waiting until you can bust a move at the gym or in yoga class after work, take a couple minutes out of your day to just do these simple moves right at your desk.

Shoulder Rolls
Sit upright in your chair with a nice long spine; crown of your head reaching towards the ceiling. Breathe in, and lift your right shoulder towards your ear. Exhale, and slowly roll your shoulder down and back, dropping it away from your ear. Repeat on the left shoulder. Try one shoulder at a time a few times on each. Then, inhale and lift both shoulders to the ears, hold, exhale and release. Notice the way your shoulders feel now.

Neck Stretch
Sit upright in your chair; don't let your back rest on the back of the chair. Have your head directly aligned over your spine, and the crown of your head lifting towards the ceiling. Take a breath in, and then with your exhalation, drop your right ear toward your right shoulder, and extend through the left fingertips. Take a couple breaths there and feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. To go a little bit deeper into this stretch, place your right hand over the left side of your head and gently apply pressure. Be careful not to pull on your head, rather to just softly press until you find your edge. Your neck is a fragile place, so treat it with care. Hold for about five breaths, and then switch sides.

Seated Figure 4 Hip Release
Sitting in a chair, cross your right leg on top of your left leg so that your right ankle is just above your left knee. Point your right leg as far out to the side as possible. Place your right hand on your right knee, and your left hand on your right foot. Gently, fold your torso forward over your legs; go as far forward as you comfortably can, and hold the pose through at least five breaths. Relax your neck, shoulders, low back and hip muscles. Slowly return upright and switch legs.

Chest Stretch, Heart Opening
Hunching. We ALL hunch over a little bit, no matter how good you think your posture is. We hunch over our computers, our steering wheels, over our meals while we eat. This move will reverse that motion of curving down and leave your chest, shoulders and upper thoracic spine feeling open and alive.

Stand up for this one. Interlace your hands behind your back - if you can't reach, hold a scarf, belt, or necktie in between them. Stand up tall, and gently squeeze your shoulder blades towards the center of your back. Each time you exhale, raise your arms slowly behind you, going as high as feels comfortable, but not so high that your neck and shoulders rise. Try to relax your neck, shoulders, and chest as you perform this. Repeat at least 4-6 times. Ahh, bask in the beauty of your open heart!

Seated Spinal Twist
Twists help your body detox and let go of tension and stress we store in our muscles. They also can awaken your stiff spine, and can stir up circulation in your body. Sit upright in your chair, turn your knees to the left side (diagonally), place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh, and your right hand grabs a hold of the arm of your chair. Inhale, lengthen your spine and reach the crown of your head tall, and as you exhale gently twist toward the right side of your chair. Inhale, grow taller, exhale, twist deeper. Hold for about 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side, making sure to adjust your knees toward the other side of the chair. Your back may get a crack or two out of it, and that's ok - just be careful not to pull too hard and fast and jerk your spine around. Take it slow and enjoy the stretch!

Breathing Exercise (alternate nostril breathing)
Are you feeling anxious? Breathing through the left nostril is calming, and breathing through the right nostril has an energizing effect. This breathing exercise balances both hemispheres of the brain, brings effectiveness and calmness, refreshes the mental state, and can relax you before a big meeting or presentation. Take a seat, spine straight, of course. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril then close the left nostril with the right pinky and exhale through the right side. Then, inhale through the right nostril (always inhale through the side you just exhaled using) and then exhale through the left. And so on. Repeat for a couple of minutes, even if you feel silly. You might want to do this where no one will come bother ...    Continue



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