If you’re looking for ways to avoid lethargy and restlessness after lunch, why not give yourself an extra boost, by allocating part of your lunch hour to recharge your mind and body with some yoga?
A moving meditation that helps you exercise every major muscle group, yoga is the perfect respite to counter your workday. Gather up your colleagues, find a quiet space, and get stretching!
Breathing and Centering – 3 mins
In a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and start breathing through your nose with closed lips.
Inhale from the lower abdomen, allowing air to fill your mid-belly, then your chest. Exhale from the chest, followed by the mid-belly and finally, the lower abdomen. Expand your belly as you inhale and contract your belly as you exhale.
Maintain this for eight to 10 cycles of the breath.
Warm Up - 3 mins
Open your eyes and move into a cross-legged sitting position. Bring your torso forward as both your arms to reach for the floor in front of you. Lower your head down, facing the ground as you take five deep breaths.
As you return to a sitting position, rotate both shoulders backward and forward four times each. Switch the cross of your legs, before placing your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and your right hand on the floor behind you. Opening up your right shoulder, look over it and breathe, holding it for five deep breathes. Repeat the set by switching sides and twisting to your left.
Seated Cat-Cow Pose: 1 min, 8 - 10 breaths
While cross-legged, you then place your hands on your knees. Inhale, lean forward, and roll your shoulders back. Exhale while softly pressing your chin against your throat and rolling your spine gently backwards to engage your abdominal muscles.
Seated Half Moon Pose: 1 min, 8 – 10 breaths, each side
Place your right fingertips on the floor beside your right hip and walk the fingers out till your arm is fully outstretched, rotating your right shoulder externally.
As you inhale, extend your left arm up. Upon exhaling, reach to your right, allowing you to rotate your left shoulder back and expand your rib cage. Maintain this position, inhaling again while looking upwards and exhale when you rotate your gaze to the ground.
Exhale one more time before changing the cross of your legs and switching sides.
Seated forward fold with Mudra: 1 min, 8 – 10 breaths
Inhale and extend both arms upwards, before exhaling and bringing both arms behind your lower back, interlacing your fingers. Gently, press your shoulder blades into your back.
Lift your chest upward as you breathe in once more. Breathing out, bow forward and move your arms towards your head as you allow your forehead to touch the ground.
Cat-Cow Pose: 2 mins, 16 – 20 breaths
On all fours, place your wrists under your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Deeply inhale while arching your back and lifting your hips. Exhale to round the spine, engaging your abdominal muscles, and curling your chin toward your throat.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose: 1 min, 8 – 10 breaths
From the Cat-Cow pose, lift your hips and straighten your legs, forming a inverted “V” with your body respective to the ground. Stretch your calves by alternating your right and left heel off the ground.
Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose: 30 secs, 4 – 5 breaths, each side
Maintaining the Downward-Facing Dog Pose, inhale and extend your right leg up until it is in line with your torso and your hands. Refrain from opening your body to the right, and ensure your hips and shoulders remain level.
Low Lunge: 1 min, 8 -10 breaths, each side
Placing your fingertips on the ground in front of you, go into a lunge position, with your right foot between your hands. The forward leg should be in a 90-degree angle, such that the knee is directly above the ankle, with your left leg stretched out behind your body.
Roll your shoulders back as you inhale and stretch your hips as you exhale.
Relaxation Pose: 4 mins
For the final move, lie comfortably on your mat, extending both legs out and facing your palms up. Close your eyes and observe your breath while inhaling and exhaling.
Bring both your knees to your chest and gently rock side to side. Holding on to both knees, rotate them in a full circle in one direction, repeating this four times before doing so in the other direction.
Return to lying comfortable once more with your eyes closed for two minutes.
Try to incorporate this 15 to 20 minute routine into your lunch hour three to five times a week, and you should notice an improvement in your mood, overall health and lessen the aches and pains you experience while sitting at your desk.