by Blakeney Schick
Many of us who spend our workdays at a desk know the Workday Slump well — the shoulders that hunch, the lower back that rounds, the tailbone that start to curl under. On Thursday, November 14 at 7:30, we’ll get on the mat to help reverse that slump. In the meantime, here are 3 things you can do right now — at your desk — to help.
Stay on the Edge of Your Seat
When we’re in our seated poses on the mat, we use padding to help bring the hip points higher than the knees, and find some length in the lower back. Desk chairs come in many shapes, sizes, and set-ups, but if you perch yourself on the very edge of your seat, you can start to find that same space in the lower back. Straighten the legs out in front of you to help lower the hips, resting on the heels, toes pointing up toward the ceiling. Push your heels into the floor, bring the belly in toward the spine and see if you can broaden the collarbones. You can cross the ankles, but just remember to switch sides.
We use ankle-to-knee pose to stretch the hips in class. And we can do the exact same thing at our desk. Sit tall. Cross your right ankle and place it on your left knee. Make sure the left foot is pressing evenly into the floor and that the toes of your right foot are flexed. You can take your right hand to your right thigh and press down for more stretch if — and only if — that’s comfortable. Stay for 7 to 10 breaths. Switch sides.
One Thing You Might Be Able to Get Away With (But Maybe Not)
For those of us who work in open plan offices, this one’s pretty much off the table (unless you don’t mind a question or two from your colleagues…). Put your forehead on your desk. Keep the neck long, so you may need to back your chair away from your desk a little. Close your eyes. Breathe. Just like putting your forehead on a block or your mat in child’s pose, this helps quiet the mind a bit and relieve some of the strain in your eyes that often comes from staring at a computer screen all day. If your chin juts forward when you sit at your computer, this is also nice for your neck. Stay for a minute or two, or until your colleagues start asking if you’re okay.
And, if all else fails:
For many of us, once we’re at our desks for the day, we don’t move around that much. So get up and take a stroll around the office, get a cup of coffee or tea, or take the long way to the bathroom.