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4 yoga poses to beat the midday desk slump!

You know that moment in the day when you realise your back is aching, your head is fried and you just can't concentrate?

We’ve all been there. Mid-afternoon, two coffees deep, inbox still full and back sore from sitting at your desk – it’s been even harder to avoid this last year with our daily routines so altered.

That’s why it’s especially important to make little moments of space and calm for ourselves throughout the day in our home office. It can feel like there’s no separation between work life and home life, and we end up becoming balls of stress, eyes red from the computer screen, neck and back in bits from hunching over a laptop and finding it difficult to wind down after transforming from ‘Work Me’ to ‘Home Me’.

Woman in Red T-shirt Looking at Her Laptop

There are ways to combat this tension and lack of energy that can build up during the day. Yoga poses can help immensely with our concentration levels in just a few poses, getting our blood flowing and our brain into productivity mode again – not to mention, it’s good for our back and posture to be getting up and moving every now and again. By trying out just a few of these movements throughout the day, we can actually increase our productivity, find it easier to relax after a day’s work and feel more motivated throughout our workday.

*It's important to note that these exercises should be undertaken with the advice of a healthcare provider and that not all poses are suitable for all people. 

Simple side stretch

Starting off in easy pose, cross legged, try keep spine straight, your chest lifted and your seat balanced on the mat. Feel yourself being supported in this pose as you breathe deeply and relax any tension in your jaw and shoulder, breathing deep into your stomach.

Inhale to lift your right arm up and arcing away from your right side, with your left palm planted on the floor for support. Repeat on the other side, holding to feel the stretch without forcing your body, or feeling pain.

This move stretches the muscles around your ribs, allowing for deep breaths that brings more oxygen around the body and makes you feel more awake.

Child's pose

Child’s pose is pone of the most calming yoga poses, all about re-centring yourself and restoration. It’s a good one if you’re feeling a little frazzled or overwhelmed, as it calms the breathing and resets the mind.

Really reach into this pose, stretching the hands out to stretch out the shoulders and awaken the body. Holding this pose for a minute and breathing deeply, you can modify it to find more a stretch in your hips by widening your knees on the mat, or if it’s causing pressure in your knees, hold a pillow between the hips and ankles to ease any tension there. Be gentle with yourself and allow for clarity and calm to kick in.

Downward Facing Dog

This pose is all about energy, if that’s what you need in the moment. The blood flow will help your circulation as your heart works a little harder since your head is below your heart and it will knock any fatigue right out of you by getting your heart rate up.

This one can be hard to hold for lots of us, so you should only do this one if you’re able to and don’t have any injuries that could be aggravated by the exercise. Finding a little movement, maybe in the calves, while you’re doing this one can also be beneficial. Pedal your feet up and down on the mat to find a stretch in the calves or in the arches of your feet to feel great afterwards.

Seated Spinal Twist

Woman Doing Yoga

This is one of my favourite poses to really tackle back tension, lower and upper. Placing your right hand on your left knee from a balanced and grounded seat, keep your chest lifted and be sure you’re not slouching. Rotate your torso towards the left and hold, supporting yourself from behind with your left palm flat on the ground, breathing deeply to feel the stretch.

Be sure not to twist with your head and neck, instead letting your torso lead. Swap hands, putting your left hand to your right knew and twisting back to the right, supporting yourself with a lifted chest and your right palm flat behind you. Don’t push or force anything here, just feel the stretch and the flow of energy that comes with it.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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