If you are like most people nowadays, you probably spend way too much time sitting in front of a computer or desk, forgetting how important it is to stretch your body and rest your eyes to avoid stiffness and strain. If you observe animals, you’ll notice that they always stretch after being inactive, even after a nap. This is fundamental to move stagnant energy and blood, so here are some tips to get you started. These simple yoga stretches will keep you refreshed while you work and help with blood circulation and energy flow. You may feel heat circulate when you start doing them, especially if you are very stiff, which is a good sign that the energy is flowing and moving where it needs to go. Of course, you can keep adding some of your own favorite stretches.
Slow Breathing and Yoga Stretches to Release Tension
To begin, sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor about hip distance apart. Place your palms on your thighs, facing down, and feel the full length in your spine. Make sure your head is balanced over your heart and your heart is balanced over your hips, so that your whole upper torso feels totally centered. Relax your shoulders.
1. Inhale and exhale evenly and slowly for five counts each. Feel free to repeat these deep inhalations and exhalations as many times as you’d like, until you feel that your mind is “quieter.” With each inhalation, imagine vital energy (prana) coming into your body and filling it with light; as you exhale, imagine all your negative energy and sluggishness (tamas) come out and dissolve. Observe how your body becomes lighter with each exhalation.
2. Inhale slowly, lifting both arms over your head and hold your left wrist with your right hand. As you exhale, bend your whole upper body to the right. Streeeeetch… and hold the pose there for three breaths. Make sure your spine and your head are straight, not bending down. Then inhale slowly and come back up to vertical position. Now change wrists, exhale, and bend to the left. Again, keep the pose there for three breaths. Inhale back up to a tall spine. Exhale, and release your arms to rest on your thighs.
Simple Yoga Stretches for Neck and Shoulders
3. Keep the same centered position as above. Inhale, tilt your head to the right, as far as you can go, and hold it there for 3 breaths. Exhale while you move it back to center. Inhale, tilt your head to the left and hold it for 3 breaths. Exhale and move it back to center. Inhale, and move your had back, as far as you can go, and hold it there for 3 breaths. Exhale, move your head forward and keep it there for 3 breaths, touching your chest with your chin and stretching the back of the neck as much as possible. On an exhalation, move it back to center.
4. Move your shoulders in a circular motion a few times, rolling them up, back and down, and feeling your arms loose and relaxed on your thighs.Then switch the rolling motion to up, forward and down. On the fourth or fifth roll, interlace your fingers behind your back and keep your arms as straight as you can. Inhale, lift your chest, making a high back bend, and look up. Hold the pose here for 3 full, slow breaths into your body. As you exhale, release your hands, and place them on your knees. Round your spine, tuck your pelvis and pull your navel away from your knees, coming into a seated cat pose. Let your head dangle and touch your chest with your chin to open the back of your neck while you breathe deeply and slowly.
Yoga Stretches and Twists for Your Torso, Legs and Spine
5. From where you are, begin to move forward, letting your upper body drop through your thighs and stretch to reach the floor with your palms flat. If you cannot reach the floor, hold onto your ankles or shins. Breathe into the pose, and let your head drop lower with each exhalation, until it is lower than your hips.
6. Slowly roll up and straighten your spine. On an exhalation, place your left hand on the outside of your right thigh and your right hand on the back of your chair, and twist your upper torso to the right, opening (lifting) your right armpit and chest area, and turning your head to the right as part of the twist as well. As you look over your right shoulder, move your eyes as far to the right corner as possible and keep them focused there. Then close your eyes as you untwist back to center. Repeat to the other side, and again close your eyes as you untwist back to center.
8. Stand up and on an exhalation, bend forward with your legs totally straight, and reach out to touch the floor with your palms, stretching as much as you can, feeling it on the back of your thighs. Hold the pose for 3 to 7 breaths. Then sit down, close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Just let go…
Simple Yoga Eye Exercises and Eye Rejuvenation with Ayurvedic Eye Therapy
7. Open your eyes and move them toward the upper right corner, then the bottom right corner, then the upper left corner (in a diagonal line), and then the bottom left corner. Do this eye exercise 2-4 times and then close your eyes to rest them.
If you stare at the computer for long periods, I highly recommended to do more eye exercises, which can be easily done any time and anywhere, to prevent more serious diseases down the road. Agarval’s Yoga of Perfect Sight is definitely a must-have desktop companion if you work with computers or have eye problems. You can improve your vision and restore balance by simply stopping what you are doing and practice the exercises on a daily basis. Good for your eyes and good for the mind.
For deep eye rejuvenation, try a deliciously blissful Ayurvedic therapy called Netra Basti, which consists in bathing the eyes in warm ghee or medicated oil. This therapy not only cleanses your eyes and prevents all sorts of eye diseases, but it also acts upon your whole head and mind, promoting clarity and deep relaxation. Do it alone or combine it with other Ayurvedic therapies. Trust me, you will sleep like a baby afterwards…
© 2010 Yol Swan. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission from the author.