Combination of Yoga & Qigong
Video narration of our zen office stretch. A great way to break up your day or invigorate yourself during a long meeting.
As always please consult with your health care professional before engaging in any new exercise routines.
Prolonged sitting leads to contraction of the muscles of the chest (pectoralis) and hip flexors while straining the neck and back among other muscle groups. I prepared this flow of movements to counteract some of these effects. Please feel free to use them to improve your day.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, hands at your sides. Soften your knees with a microbend. Take deep breaths through your nose. As you breathe in, you should feel your abdomen pushing out and as you breathe out it should draw back in. Take 5 breaths at your own pace.
Roll both your shoulders back, up and then down. Do this 5 times. Now reverse the movement by rolling both shoulders forward, up and then back. Do this 5 times.
Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, reach behind you and imagine that you are holding a large beach ball. As you squeeze this ball feel your chest stretch and expand. If you like you can clasp your hands behind your back. Take 5 deep breaths.
Holding up the Heavens:
Inhale as you raise your hands, palms facing you. At chest level start turning your palms out. Continue to raise your hands overhead. Rise up on your toes (if possible) as you fully extend your arms, palms facing the sky, fingertips touching and eyes watching your hands. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then lower yourself back on your heels. Now move your body to the left and then to the right slowly stretching your sides. Then return to midline and slowly move your hands to their sides.
Separating Heaven and Earth:
Inhale as you lift your hands, palm up to your stomach level. Keep extending your left arm over your head with your palm up fingers pointing to the right while at the same time bringing your right hand down to your side with your palm down and fingers pointing to your left. Take 5 deep breaths.
On the next inhalation reverse the movement by bringing your hands to chest level. Keep extending your right arm over your head with your palm up fingers pointing to the left while at the same time bringing your left hand down to your side with your fingers pointing to your right. Take 5 deep breaths.
Down dog chair:
Make sure that you are standing behind a chair or the edge of a table. Now grab onto the chair with your hands and place your feet further back so that eventually your head comes down between your arms and you make an “L” shape with your body. Make sure that your knees are bent to protect your backs. If you find that you are not able to bend your backs as much, bending your knees will increase your flexibility. Focus on lengthening your back as your sacrum pushes out. Take 5 deep breaths.
Sit down on a chair with your legs flat on the floor. Take a deep breath. While exhaling twist to your right with the movement starting at your belly button and moving up. Your left hand touches the right arm of the chair as you gaze towards your right side. Only twist as far you comfortably can while keeping your back straight. Take 5 deep breaths.
On the next exhalation twist to your left with the movement starting at your belly button and moving up. Your right hand touches the left arm of the chair as you gaze towards your left side. Take 5 deep breaths.
On the next exhalation, untwist and face the front. Take a deep breath.
This concludes our session. I hope that you feel refreshed.
Click to download PDF version of this stretch routine:
Zen Office Stretch