Five yoga poses to do at your desk

Photographer: Chantell Bianchi

In need of a stretch but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself at your desk?

Yoga teacher and founder of Infinite Yoga, Gabriella Woodward shows us five simple yoga stretches:

Seated child’s pose
Make sure both feet are flat on the floor and hip width apart and sit tall and straight. Tuck your chin under and roll down your spine placing your forearms on your thighs and your forehead on your arms. To go deeper, place your hands towards the floor at either side of your legs and rest your forehead on your knees. Inhale, letting your belly rise and exhale, releasing tension. Continue for five breaths.
Benefits: relaxation of the nervous system and release of any tension in your lower back and neck.

Seated spinal twist
Place both feet flat on the floor hip width apart and sit tall. Inhale first, as you exhale rotate the torso to the right side turning your head with your body to look over the right shoulder. Place your hands on the side of the chair. Continue your inhale and exhale for up to five breaths. Release your neck first then come back to the centre. Repeat to the left.
Benefits: massage internal organs along with stretching ribs and torso.
(Note: Do not twist if you are pregnant.)

Shoulder rolls
Sit tall with a straight spine, feet flat and hip width apart on the floor. Inhale and begin lifting your shoulders simultaneously to your ears. As you exhale, roll shoulders down and back. Continue this movement for five breaths.
Benefits: link your breath to movement to form a concentration. This pose also softens shoulder muscles to release neck and upper back tension.

Chest/shoulder opener
Sit on the front edge of the chair with feet firm on the floor and hip width apart. Interlace fingers behind your back with your palms facing each other. Inhale first and as you exhale move your torso forward over your thighs lifting your clasped hands toward the ceiling. Relax your neck and stay for five breaths.
Benefits: release tightness in the middle of your back and open your heart, naturally releasing tension in the chest and stimulating the immune system.

Sit on the front edge of the chair with feet firm on the floor and hip width apart. Stack your ankles under your knees being careful not to let the knee go forward over the ankle. Cross your right ankle over your left ankle with the right foot on the floor and allow your right knee and hip to fall open to the right. For a stronger stretch, place your right ankle on your left knee instead of the left ankle in the shape of the number 4. Sit tall whatever level you’re doing and inhale. On your exhale slightly move your heart and chest forward toward your knees. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: open hip flexes and align shoulders.