Time to Take an Office Stretch Break!

Time for a stretch break! Time for a timeout from your day. Time to re-center and take in some really deep oxygen-rich breaths. 

Time to loosen things up and soften any tension that has accumulated in your neck, shoulders, hips and low back throughout the day. 

You don’t even have to get off of your chair for these simple stretches.
 
Breathe 

The best place to begin is always by just taking a few deep breaths. No matter how busy your day is, you always have time for this. 

Your will begin to feel less stressed and fatigued and will instead begin to feel more invigorated and grounded just by taking a few really full, really deep, cleansing breaths. 

Begin by exhaling to empty all of the breath out. Through your nose, draw in a very full, round breath, feeling the heart lift and the lungs expand in all directions. When you get to the top of the inhalation, open up your mouth and exhale to empty completely. I mean really empty all the way. Repeat this for three breaths or so. 

Then, softly seal your lips and breathe through your nose, inhaling to a slow count of five and exhaling to a slow count of five. Let the breath move into the side body and the back body, as well. Repeat and repeat and repeat…

Shoulder rolls

On a big inhale bring your shoulders way up by your ears, and as you exhale let them roll wide down the back. Repeat 3 to 5 times, each time creating a bit more space between the neck and the shoulders and the shoulders themselves.

Neck stretch

Begin by sitting tall, lengthening all four sides of your neck, feeling a lift up and out of the crown of the head. Your chin is parallel to the earth. 

Place the right hand onto your head, just above your left ear. Very gently use your hand to guide your right ear towards your right shoulder, being very careful not to apply too much pressure with your hand. No force. Just a gentle stretch along the left side of the neck. 

Keep the right shoulder down. Hold here for a few breaths, taking care not to clench your jaw. 

Just as carefully return to center and change sides.

Hip opener with a low back release and a shoulder opener on the side

Start by sitting near the edge of your chair just so that your pelvis can tilt slightly forward. Let both feet rest evenly on the ground, about hip distance apart. Lift your right foot off of the earth and cross your right ankle on top of your left leg above the knee. 

On in inhale, lengthen the spine by grounding through the sitting bones and drawing up through the crown of the head. Keeping the right foot flexed to protect the knee, let the right knee open to the side. 

On an exhale, begin to hinge forward from the hips, folding the torso over the legs. Keep the spine very long and straight, the heart extending forward. 

Draw the low belly in to protect your low back here. 

Don’t worry about how far you fold forward! It’s all about creating space and relieving tension. So, be kind to your hips! Stay rooted through both sitting bones, keeping your weight evenly distributed. Allow your breath to remain steady as you stay here for a minute or so. Try not to grip in the hip of the top leg. 

Keep it supple and sweet. 

If you need more of a stretch, use your hand to guide the thigh open by gently pressing the thigh downward. 

For the added shoulder stretch, interlace your hands behind your back and try to press your palms together. 

Keeping the spine long and the integrity of the posture in tact, fold forward and draw your hands towards your head. 

Keep the collar-bones lifted and the neck long. Slowly unwind and move into the second side.


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