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Sherry Zak Morris

Sherry Zak Morris

Yoga Studio Owner and Yoga Video Producer

Sherry is an E-RYT Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, the co-founder of Yoga Journey Productions and owner of the Yoga Vista Studio. Sherry studied under the tutelage of octogenarian yoga teacher, Mary Cavanaugh. She came to yoga afters years of computer-related work stress and thousands of dollars in chiropractic bills. She is the Co-Founder of Yoga Vista Academy, an Advanced Studies Yoga Teacher Training School specializing in Gentle, Senior, Chair Yoga, Yoga Therapy and Somatic Yoga.

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Yoga Stretches for Desk Workers

Simple yoga poses can relieve the body strain and stress commonly found in people who work at their desk for extended periods of time.

What are the typical physical complaints of desk workers?
After just a few hours in front of a computer or working at a desk, you will notice the tightness quietly creeping up into your shoulders, upper back, neck and jaw. Even though the mind is busy, this physical discomfort is outside of our conscious awareness. You only feel this discomfort when you need to move, release tight muscles or go to get a drink of water. This discomfort can be compounded if you have improper ergonomics in your workspace – which can lead to actual pain and injury to the joints of your body.

How can yoga help?
Taking periodic breaks and doing movements that counteract the deskworker’s body position is key to bringing balance back to the body. Yoga is all about balance. We cannot avoid sitting at our desks, but we can proactively manage our work environment – through stretching and ergonomic adjustments.

What stretches are the best to do at your desk?
Have you ever noticed the typical posture of a desk worker. They are hunched over the desk or keyboard with a rounded back and caved in chest. This creates a lot of tension in the neck and shoulders as they have to do more work to hold the weight of the head up. The heart and lungs also have to work harder to function because they are in a state of compression in this posture. So by day’s end, tension headaches, neck and back pain and even breathing problems are common.

To counteract this hunched position, shoulder rolls and chest openers are the best stretches.

1. Shoulder roll – The number one thing you can do to quickly ease neck and shoulder tension is the typical shoulder roll.

  • Start by scrunching your shoulders up to your ears, then rolling then back and down – think of squeezing the shoulder blades together at the back.
  • Benefits: This simple movement puts your back in straight and perfect alignment and softens the muscles in the neck and shoulders – immediately reducing tension.

    2. Butterfly pose – This pose contains two opposite movements to create balance in the upper chest and back and the neck.
  • Start with your fingers on your shoulders and elbows close together. As you inhale, open the elbows wide and lift the chest up as you look up to the ceiling. On the exhale, fold forward and tuck your chin towards your chest and hunch your back, drawing the belly back into the spine. Then repeat this sequence at least 5-6 times – making sure to tune into your breath for even more relaxation.
  • Benefits: This pose brings space and breath into the chest cavity, making room for the heart and lungs to function at their best. It also releases tension in the neck as it folds forwards and arches back – this movement also increases blood flow to the brain and relieves tension headaches

    3. Wrist bends – This pose is great for computer workers using a mouse, or for people who type and write a lot. Keeps carpal tunnel at bay. Again, it uses a counterpose to reverse the angle of the wrist.
  • Bring your arms straight to shoulder height. Drop the shoulders and release the tension in the neck. Next, tip your fingertips toward the ceiling, pushing out from your palms out and keeping your elbows straight. Then tip your fingers to the floor, only your wrists move. You are trying to create a right angle between your wrist and forearm. Repeat this sequence several times and then end it with a few shoulder rolls.
  • Benefits: This pose stretches the undersides of the arms, bringing energy and stimulating circulation to the entire arm and into the wrists for greater mobility.

    4. Back twist – Twisting helps to relieve tension that builds up along your spine. These twists should feel light and relaxing.
  • Start with your back straight and shoulders relaxed, knees pointing straight forward and feet flat on the floor. Take a deep inhale and on the exhale turn and place both hands on the left side of your chair. Inhale again and gently turn your upper body, neck and head to look over your left shoulder. Take a few breaths here and focus on relaxing the low back and keeping the shoulders lowered and soft. Reverse to the other side.
  • Benefits: This pose should feel comfortable and not forced. It activates many of the muscles that contribute to developing solid core stability which gives you confidence and strength.

    Tags: Sherry Zak Morris Take5Yoga Ergonomics

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