"Life means to be living. Problems will

awlays be there. When they arise 

navigate through them with yoga"- 

B.K.S Iyengar

                                    


Yoga is a practise of quieting the mind - Patanjali

      Yoga poses at your desk to stretch the body and relax the mind  

I cannot stress enough how is important for the body to have the right movement. And when an amazing whole yoga class is not an option (and even it is the more the better) yoga at work comes into help.

 We hold a lot of tension around the neck and upper back and shoulder areas due to bad poster and prolonged sitting and staring at screens together with lower back and hips, not very surprising picture now days, unfortunately. Ready to try? Keep reading then.

Either a yogi pro or newbie, this easy to follow sequence will enlighten your day. You might try it during your lunch break or any other time during the day. If you don’t have time for full sequence, try few of the poses instead. Remember every little counts.

1 Neck circles 

Sitting nice and tall on the chair. Inhale look up, hold for 5 breaths.

Exhale chin into your chest, hold for 5 breaths, directing the breath at the back of the neck. Inhale come back to neutral neck and make one circle on both sides as slowly as possible feeling the movement as go you along.

2 Neck stretches 

Extend your left hand and wrapped it around the right ear. Exhale lower the left ear towards the left shoulder. Breathe here in the stretch. If want to go deeper extend the right hand to the side. Release after few breaths and repeat on the other side.

Help to release tension in the neck area.

3 Cat and Cow 

Sit nice and tall with your feet flat on the floor knees above ankles. Sit slightly forward in order to move freely through the stretch. On the inhale arch the spine holding the knees, heart forward look up.


Exhale round your back, draw your abdominal in towards your back and tuck your tailbone under while keeping the arms straight and holding onto the knees.

 

Cat and Cow is beautifully simple and yet so powerfully beneficial. Creates stronger and more flexible spine, an oasis for back pain, gentle tune for the abdominal muscle. Repeat at least 5 rounds. When you finish come back to the starting point.

4 Seated crescent moon (side stretching)

Sitting nice and tall with the feet on the floor and body facing forward. Inhale extend the arms above the head, interlace all the fingers apart for the point finger of both hands which are pressing towards each other.

Exhale bend from the waist to left. Look forward or if you don’t suffer from neck injuries you can look over the right. Direct your awareness towards right side of the torso. Breathe and release the side. Imagine the right armpit lengthening away of the right hip bone. Stay 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side. 

Helps to lengthen the spine and awaken and refreshes the mind while giving you a good side stretch.

5 Eagle hands 

Inhale extend the arms in front of you, place the right above the left and interlace the hands, if possible bring the palms together. Exhale move the elbows to the right and then to the left. If body allows lift elbows one line with the shoulders and gently stretch them forward. Hold for few breaths. Feeling your shoulder blades, the space between and the front chest muscles. Repeat on the other side.

6 Neck and upper back stretch 

 

6.1Sitting tall on the chair hold the left wrist with the right hand and gently pool the left hand to the right till you feel mild to moderate stretch.Feel the left shoulder. Hold for 5-10 breaths before you repeat on the other side.

6.2 Clasp the hands behind the head while maintaining straight spine. Inhale look up and spread the elbows ou to the sides to extend it feels comfortable. 

Lift the breast bone up directing the breaths towards your chest and expanding the rib cage sideways allowing fresh energy to flow in.

Exhale chin into chest, bring both elbows together. Direct the breath towards the back of the chest and neck letting any tension. Repeat couple of times.

Tip: aiming further release exhale through the mouth.

7 Seated pigeon 

Place the left ankle above the right knee, keeping the left foot flexed (toes moving towards the knee and heel moving opposite direction). Keep the pelvis square and centered. If possible allow the left knee to come one line with the left ankle. 

Inhale look up, exhale fold forward while maintaining straight and long spine. Hold for 5-10 breaths. And switch sides.

 

Seated pigeon is your friend releasing the other thighs and hips from prolonged sitting. In addition if you are enjoying the occasion jogging you will find it beneficial.On emotional level help to helps to start letting go any stuck negative emotions.

8 Final relaxation

If you have time, leave few minutes at the end for relaxation. Rest your back on the chair sit, palms on the thighs or lap facing upwards. Take a few deep cleansing inhales through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Close the eyes.

Allow the whole body to be heavy and relax. Stay present and just be. Whenever thoughts are coming allow them to pass the way they came.

Stay few minutes. To come back, wiggle the finger tips and bring the body back to life.

Now you are ready to come back refreshed!

Say thank you to yourself.

                  Period Yoga sequence to relieve menstrual cramps

                                                                    


As women we are lucky to have our bodies cleansing and renewing on monthly basis. And still maybe we don’t feel that lucky when this special time of the month is accompanied with period cramps and discomfort. Not to mentioned the mood swings and heighten emotions.  

Luckily( definitely here) we have my best friend Yoga in our service. Yoga in general and particularly in these case has been proven many times to work effectively. Apart from the science behind, I can speak from my personal experience as yogi and the experience from my students as a yoga teacher. So let’s “get to work “. 

The yoga sequence could be used before or during the period. For best results is to be practiced first one week ( or few days )before your period is due. Once you establish this you might even get rid of the cramps before they started. However if you are in this special time of the month while you are reading the article go ahead.


Set the mood. Play nice relaxing music, switch off your phone and maybe even light a candle or defuse essential oils.

Apasana - Wind release pose 

Alignment:

  • Lie on your back flat on the floor, bend your legs and use both arms to pull your knees towards your body while you are relaxing the shoulder and shoulder blades on the mat. Keep the neck long. 
  • Before you settle to hold the pose rock from side to side. Hold for 30sec to 1 min.

Supta baddha konasana - Reclining Bound Angle pose

One of my all time favorites. It’s beautiful pose which works magic. It opens the inner thighs and hips, helping the whole body and mind to unwind. The reclined butterfly stimulates the abdominal organs like the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys. Helps relieve the symptoms of menstruation and menopause and improves general circulation in the area while enhancing the feeling of relaxation.

Alignment:

  • Lie flat on your back, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet  and heels together.
  • Allow your knees to fall out to the sides and sink to the floor and relax your arms alongside your body. Rock your hips side to side allowing them to be even on both sides.  Close your eyes and bring the awareness inwards.
  • Breathe deeply. Allow with every breath your body to soften and melt down.This is a time for you. Stay from 30 sec to 1 min.


Note: If you are complete beginner hold first for not more than 10 breaths and try first to place the heels not too close to the groins.Overtime you can shorter the distance. Alternatively you can support your knees with block or rolled up blanket.


The photo above is taken at one of the offices I was teaching yoga classes. For more information about bringing yoga to your office click here:


Balasana- Child pose 

Child pose is a perfect way to let go and feel supported by the earth.To dive in effortlessness allowing yourself to be taken care of and be present in your body. Especially at that time of the month we can dive in into more Yin ( Female) qualities to the opposed Yang energies almost everything now days is. Is probably one of the most famous yoga poses, you probably came across in yoga class. Extremely relaxing which improves blood circulation and fatigue with tones of other benefits.

Alignment:

  • Come on the too of the mat, spread the knees apart, joining the big toes together.
  • Sit back on your heels( if there is gap, place a roll towel between the heels and sitting bones).
  • Extend your arms forward, palms wide open. Inhale look up, exhale fold forward. Stay and breathe deeply directing the air towards the hips and lower back.
  •  Allow your sitting bones to keep relaxing down towards the heels. Inhale lengthen your back, exhale relax your chest further down.


Note: Place a folded towel/ pillow under your head to be even more supported.


The picture is taken at Surf and Yoga retreat in Morocco. For more information for the next one click the link


Baddha Konasana -Butterfly
Bound angle is another tons of benefits type of pose. Apart that the kidney, bladder and prostate function are stimulated, bound angle promotes regular menstruation,
Alignment:
  • From child pose come to sitting. Join the feet together and allow the knees to fall out to the side. Walk the feet as close as it fit comforatble towards the pubic bone. 
  • Hold your feet with both hands. Inhale extend your spine on the exhale fold forward bending from the hips. If the inner thighs are tight, might be enough of a strech by just joining the feet. 
  • With each exhale relax your chest closer to towards your feet, with each inhale elongate your spine. Stay 10 breaths.


Photo credit:lifenlessons.com

Janu Sirsasana - Head to knee pose 

Another all time favorite, which makes me wonder, what I was going to do without. 

Alignment:

  • From baddha konasana extend your right leg in front of you, walking the left food as close as possible to the opposite groin. If your left knee is uncomfortable or not touching the ground place a pilow or roll towel under.
  • Flex your right foot( toes moving towards the knees and heel pushing away). Engage your upper thigh and avoid overextending the knee. Turn your torso facing towards the right leg.
  • Inhale rise your arms above the head, exhale fold forward flexing from the hips. Place both hands on or around your outstreched leg.Only bend forward as far as you can keeping your back straight and long. Keep your sitting bones firmly rooted.
  • . Allow the progress to happen gradually. Stay 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.



Photo credit: finnesyoga.com

Pashimotanasana- Seated forward bend 


“Pashimotanasana is the best among asanas.” Hatha Yoga Pradipika


Pashimotanasana stretches the whole spinal column and relaxes the central nervous system does helping with getting emotional and mood swings. The reproductive organs are tuned and massaged and is great pose to regulate the menstrual cycle apart from relieving pain.


Alignment :

  • Sit tall with your legs outstretched in front of you. Flex your feet. Remove flesh from the sitting bones. Lenthen from the crown of your head.
  •  Inhale extend the arms above your head.Exhale fold forward flexing from the hips. If you can’t hook your big toes, whole the legs to the extend you feel stretch without strain.
  • Inhale look up, exhale fold again. Lower your torso onto your thighs, relax your neck and gently draw your head to your legs. You can use a pilow under your forehead. For beginners you can hook a yoga strap( or scarf ) and place
  • Keep your shoulders away from the years and your lower back long.

Bridge Pose

Alignment:

  • From the previous pose bring the knees into your chest and circle the knees few times both direction. 
  • On the exhale place your heels directly under the knees, feet hip distance apart facing forward, back flat, hands by your side.
  •  Exhale  tilt your hips forward, tucking the tailbone gently under.
  • Inhale lift the hips and back of the floor to a comfortable height. Press firmly the upper arms and shoulders on the floor.
  • Broaden the collarbones opening the chest.
  • Keep your big toes an inner arches of both feet firmly pressing on the mat and the neck lenthening away of the spine
  • If you have a block, remove first the block and slowly lower down vertabra by vertabra all the way down.
Note: to make it more therapeutic, place a folded blanket under your sacrum allowing the sacrum and sitting bones to melt on the folded blanket. Hold for 10 breaths.

Legs up the wall 


Walk your mat next to a wall. Bring your hips as close as possible to the wall. Turn sides ways so you can place the hips and sitting bones as close as possible to the wall. 


Lift your legs. Allow your hands to rest by your side, further relaxing the chest. Breathe

Jathara Parivartanasana - Reclined twist
The reclined twist is beneficial for neutralizing the spine after forward ( or backward ) bending. It stimulates digestion and massages the internal organs.
Alligment:
  • Bend your knees into your chest and pause for a moment. 
  • On the exhale lower your knees. Keep both shouders and shoulder blades on the ground. Place a cushion under your knees if they can't touch the ground. Turm your head to the right.
  • Use your left hand to gently push the knees further down towards the ground while you are pressing the ritght shoulder down.
  • Stay 10 breaths at least before repeating on the other side.

Savasana

And the most sweet of all asanas- Savasana. Give yourself few mins here. Play gentle relaxing music, layer up to make it more cosy and completely surrender. Give your self back - you deserve it .

Alignment:

  • Lie down on your back, allow your feet drop naturally to the sides and your arms away your body with palms facing upwards. Let go of controlling the breath.


Breathe effortlessly in and out. Be present.


Note: you can bend knees if the back is uncomfortable.

The photo is taken during one of my former classes in Victoria park, London.