It’s 5 o’clock and my face is about to hit my computer screen. I started my day energized and with great posture… how in the heck did I end up looking like the hunchback of Notre-Dame?! Even though I’m a yoga teacher I’m also a working photographer. I edit and email for long hours and slowly my body starts to fall into my computer without me ever realizing it. My shoulders are stiff and rolled forward and my upper back is hook shaped. If you can relate to this image, I’ve come up with four shoulder opening stretches that anyone can do right at their desk. You’re going to need a strap, if you’re at the office you can use a tie, belt, or scarf – be creative with your props.
A few notes before we begin
- If you are in a chair with wheels I suggest moving the back of your chair again a wall to keep it steady.
- If you are wearing heels take them off and go bare foot for these stretches
- Breath cycle = Inhale and Exhale is one cycle
- Don’t worry about how you look, think about how great you feel
Fingers interlaced Arms over head
Sit upright at your desk with a straight back. Feet flat on the floor. Knees hip width apart. Bring your arms over head, interlace your fingers and flip your palms toward the ceiling. Squeeze the webbing of your fingers as close together as possible. Stretch your palms up toward the ceiling and release the tension in the muscles around your neck. Hold this for 5 breath cycles.
Strap Shoulder Stretch
Grab a strap like thing – a tie, belt, or scarf will work. Sit upright at your desk with a straight back. Feet flat on the floor. Knees hip width apart. Grab your strap with both hands and raise them straight out in front of you. Move your hands slightly wider then outer shoulder distance apart. Keep this and raise your arms above your head making a V shape. Grab the strap tight and pull arms in opposite directions. Keeping both of your arms straight, slowly lower your right arm down by your right side going toward a capital L shape. Hold this for one breath cycle. Then slowly bring your arms back to center above your head and repeat on the second side, do this 3 times on each side. *note check out your wrists and make sure they are straight and not bending.
Cow face Arms
Throw your strap over your left shoulder. Bring your arms out to a T shape. Reach around with your right arm and place your palm on your lower back. Start to walk your right palm up your spine until you hit your limit. Reach back with your left arm and try to grab your right hand with your left hand. If your hands do not touch grab the strap with both hands and walk them along the strap toward each other to capacity. Sit up straight and press your head back into your top forearm. Hold this for 5 breath cycles. Release, then repeat on the other side.
Starting with arms in a T cross your right arm underneath your left arm in front of your chest. Place the back of your hands against each other or double wrap and touch palm to palm. Keep your chest open and back straight. Gaze forward and hold this for 3 breath cycles. Release your arms and repeat crossing in the opposite way.
There you go – four office yoga stretches you can do right at your desk to help you avoid the 5 o’clock computer face plant! Remember to go at your own pace and only stretch as far as you can without pain. Let me know how these shoulder openers work out for you in the comments below!