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Monday, January 24, 2005

on the go/office vinyasa

illustration by morgan l. johnson

the modern girl knows that weaving yoga into her daily routine, even if she can't make her favorite studio class, is very important to a tranquil state of being. taking time at the office or while out and about to connect within is crucial to a healthy mindset. incorporate this yoga sequence daily for a 15-minute “mental health break.”

begin by sitting on the edge of your seat with feet hip width apart and flat on the ground. extend the crown of the head toward the ceiling creating an elongated spine and connect to your breath. the yoga poses below begin from this basic starting position.

1. neck and shoulder rolls with closed eyes
inhale deeply. exhale and allow the eyes to close. inhale, lengthen the spine and slowly lower the right ear to the right shoulder. exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. inhale, lifting the left ear to the left shoulder. exhale, lowering the chin to the chest. repeat five times with the eyes closed. inhale, roll the shoulders forward and up to your ears. exhale, rolling the shoulders back and towards the floor, allowing the shoulder blades to slide down the back. repeat five times in both directions. benefits: rests the eyes to help prevent eye strain; lubricates and stretches the neck joints; relieves tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
2. seated cat and cow
clasp the seat of the chair, palms down and fingers pointing towards the floor. inhale, bring the chest forward and draw the shoulder blades together, taking a slight back bend in cow position. exhale, bring the belly towards the back of the chair allowing the shoulders to fall forward into cat position. repeat five times, concentrating on coordinating each movement with an inhale and an exhale. benefits: warms and elongates the spine, relieves back tension,
3. chair twists
inhale, lengthen the head towards the ceiling. exhale, twist to the right side bringing the left hand to the outside of your right leg. place the right hand on the left side of the upright seat back. allow the head to follow the twist of the spine and allow the eyes to gaze beyond the chair back. inhale, coming back to center and repeat on the other side. benefits: whittles the waist; stretches the spine, shoulders and hips; relieves lower back, neck and sciatica pain; aids in digestion; massages internal organs which pushes out toxins and allows the organs to refill with fresh blood.
4. eagle arms
inhale, stretching the arms out to the sides. exhale, bringing your left arm under your right arm. cross both arms at the elbows, point the elbows towards the floor and fingers up towards the ceiling. try to place the palms of the hands together. inhale, try to raise your elbows to shoulder height while moving the fingers as far forward from the face as possible. exhale, slowly draw up and down circles with the elbows in one direction and then the other. repeat on the other side. benefits: firms upper arms and stretches the upper back /shoulder muscles.
5. seated child’s pose
inhale, lengthen the spine toward the ceiling, exhale fold forward placing the chest on the thighs. allow the arms to drop to the floor. breathe deeply and relax for 30 seconds. inhale, engage the abs and raise the upper body to a sitting position. variations: (1) turtle pose: while in child’s pose, open the legs to hip distance. thread arms between the legs and around the calves. attempt to grasp the outside of the foot with the hand. (2) hands clasped behind the back pose: while in child’s pose, reach the arms behind the back and clasp the fingers together. lower the hands toward the head. benefits: rejuvenates the body; stretches the spine; massages the abdominal area.
6. ankle and wrist rolls
roll ankles and wrists in clockwise circles. repeat counter-clockwise. benefits: lubricates ankle and wrist joints; promotes blood circulation, eases carpal tunnel syndrome.
7. walking meditation
as you walk to the copier or to refill your water bottle during the workday, bring awareness to each step and movement. notice sensations in your body, concentrate on your breath and practice awareness of your surroundings. feel a sense of tranquility throughout your body and allow this feeling of peace to remain with you throughout the day. benefits: brings mindfulness into the mundane, creates tranquility.

may these small changes to your daily routine bring relief from the many directions on which you are pulled. namaste.

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