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Yoga at the office

7 moves you can do from your office chair to better improve your day

By Bonnie Murdoch

Let’s face it, you are busy. Directives, assignments, projects, meetings, expectations and deadlines hover around you—and you struggle to get it all done and to fit it all in, let alone to find the time to take care of yourself along the way. Life has taken on the shape of constant movement and the stress of it all takes a toll on your mind and your body.

The net effect? Fatigue, decreased productivity, lack of focus, stress and disease. Taking a few moments each day to breathe deeply and stretch into your body, reduces stress and tension, stimulates circulation, focuses the mind and leaves you feeling better and better equipped to face the challenges of the day.

Try the following and see how you feel. Start now.

1. Neck rolls. Close your eyes. Take a deep breathe. Relax your shoulders. Gently lower your chin to your chest and feel the sensation of the back of your neck lengthening. Begin to slowly roll the neck in a circular movement, reaching your right ear toward your right shoulder, then tilting your head back, and reaching your left ear toward your left shoulder. Move slowly. Stop to experience the stretch in the front, back and sides of the neck as you explore your range of motion. Move in both directions.

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2. Chair twist. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees stacking over your ankles. Sit up tall. Relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, reach for the back of your chair and twist to the right. Close your eyes. As you inhale, feel the spine lengthening. As you exhale, peel your right shoulder open and twist through the torso. Explore the range of your twist for several breaths then switch sides.

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3. Ragdoll. Stand up. Separate your feet hip distance apart. Bend your knees. Slowly hinge at the hips and fold forward. Reach for the opposite elbows. Let the head hang heavy and release any tension in the neck. Feel the hamstrings, hip and spine beginning to lengthen as you relax into your breath.

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4. Wrist stretch. Lift the arms chest height and bring your forearms parallel to the floor. Place the backs of the hands together with the fingers pointed toward to the floor. Reach the backs of the hands toward one another and begin to drop the elbows until you feel a stretch in the top of the wrists. Breathe.

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5. Forearm lengthener. Place your palms on your desk with fingertips pointing toward your body. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, gently lean into the wrists and reach the palms of the hands  toward the desk.

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6. Standing pigeon. Stand at your desk with your feet flat on the floor. Lift the right knee up and place the shin on your desk parallel to the front edge. Inhale to lengthen your spine and, as you exhale, begin to lean the body forward until you feel a stretch in the outer right hip. Repeat on the left.

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7. Breathe. Close your eyes. Sit up tall. Begin to breathe deeply in and out of the nose. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Become aware of the sensation of your breath. Notice where it goes in your body. Feel its warmth. Allow your body to relax into the sensation of the breath moving through you.

It starts with an intention. Set yours and off you go.

Bonnie Murdoch has been practicing law for more than 15 years and yoga for almost 10. Three years ago, she reduced her hours at the law firm to open Lotus Yoga, a vinyasa flow yoga studio in Riverside/Avondale. She co-owns the studio with her good friend and fellow lawyer/yogi, Bethany Crawley. Bonnie believes in the power of yoga as a process to develop mindfulness, strengthen the body, cultivate balance and transcend boundaries. For more information regarding Lotus Yoga, visit www.lotusyogajax.com or email Bonnie at bonnie@lotusyogajax.com.


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