Exercise plays a key role in our health, performance, and well-being. And when we’re physically on the move that’s also good for our mental fitness.
In March 2020, it was immediately clear to me: We need to focus much more on keeping agile in front of the screen in times of pandemic. We no longer walk from one meeting to another, to the office or to the community kitchen. Our radius has become smaller, and we’re faced with back-to-back appointments. This makes us tired and saps our energy. You notice it too, right?
The Desk Yoga product was created to counteract exactly this. The exercises are based on my wealth of experience as a yogi—except I’ve applied them to the reality of our home office. So how can you incorporate small strengthening, stretching, or mobilizing exercises into your daily work routine every now and then? I’ve read it so often: If you barely move all day, then a marathon at the weekend is hardly going to help. So, are you up for some “fitness snacks” for in between?
My work targets large groups, teams, but also individuals. Why don’t you try it out with the following two exercises?
Why is this exercise called that?
Because this exercise activates and stabilizes the nervous system.
It could save you a lot in coffee ;)
Stretch your arms to the side at shoulder level, hold the palms outward with the fingers facing the ceiling and at right angles to the arm. Imagine you’re standing between two walls and pushing them aside. Spread yourself out as much as possible, stretch out your arms, and then start making small circles with your hands (5-10 circles to the front and then 5-10 circles to the back). It is also a good exercise to bob your stretched arms up and down instead of making circles.
The pigeon is a hip-opening exercise. It is one of the backbends in yoga and is normally performed on the floor. But you can also do it in a standing or sitting position. This exercise stretches the muscle (psoas) that runs from the outer thigh to the lower back, connecting the torso and legs. This muscle is often shortened due to frequent sitting, which has an impact on your back. It can also lead to something like sciatic pain or blockages of the sacroiliac joint. That’s why you need to keep stretching! And this exercise is also perfect for during meetings. Just take care that you don’t hurt yourself.
We start with the seated pigeon. Sit with a straight back. Bring your right leg over your left knee and pull the foot of your right leg in, to flex it. This is important to protect your knee joint. The right lower leg rests on the left knee above the ankle. Then lean forward with your back straight, pressing your buttocks into the chair. You can also slightly increase the stretch by very gently (!) pushing the right knee down with the right elbow and tilting the pelvis forward. Play a little with the intensity of the stretch. You should feel it in the right buttock. Be sure to hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. And breathe yourself into that stretch. Then switch sides and start with the left leg. If you’d like to try it, you can also do the exercise standing up—that is—without a chair. This also requires you to work on your balance. And when balancing, it helps a lot to stabilize yourself with your torso (belly button inward, making lower back long).