Sedentary Job? Try Yoga Breaks.

A greater proportion of Americans work at desk jobs. Taking breaks is essential to staying fit and preventing repetitive injuries. Try a quick break a few times a day with these yoga moves.

(If you are wearing high heels, kick them off under your desk before starting this.)

1. Heart opener stretch – Yoga standing heart opener stretch pictureCounteract the hours spent hunched over the computer with this stretch. Standing with feet hip-distance apart, engage the abdominal muscles. Roll shoulders up to the ears and then down to straighten the back. Focus eyes where the ceiling meets the wall. Bend arms at the elbows and pretend as though you are squeezing a beach ball with your elbows behind your back. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

2. Forward fold heart opener – Forward fold heart opener stretchThis pose will counter the endless hamstring contractions that result from hours of sitting. Standing with feet hip distance apart, clasp hands behind your back. On your next exhalation, bend forward at the hips, keeping the knees soft. You should feel a nice stretch in the hamstrings. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

3. Warrior 1 – Warrior 1 Yoga StretchThis pose will counter act the impact of sitting for hours on end. Step back with your right foot, pointing toes approximately 45 degrees to the right. Square hips to the front. Raise arms straight overhead and contract the right glute. Left knee should not bend past the left toes. This should stretch the psoas muscle (the largest of the hip flexor muscles). Hold for 5-10 breaths. Switch feet and repeat.

4. Chair flow – Chair pose yoga photoThis exercise will strengthen your leg muscles and reduce stasis in the veins and lymphatic system. Standing with feet hip distance apart, tighten the abdominal muscles and engage the pelvic floor. Inhale and lift your arms over your head. Exhale and sweep your hands out to the side and bring them heart center as you sit back with your hips. Knees should not bend past the toes. Inhale and lift arms while you straighten the legs. Repeat chair pose on the exhalation ten times.

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