Top 3 Desk Stretches

Simple and yet strong, these 3 Desk Stretches are wonderful yogic tools to stay physically open and emotionally centred when back from retreat, in daily life.
Our current laptop culture is wreaking havoc on our pectorals! Yes, those little muscles that open our chest outwards, can also collapse your chest cavity and draw your shoulders inwards.  When this happens your breathing  shortens and sits higher in your chest, which also stimulates feelings of tension as the neck muscles start to compensate and shorter breaths = stress!
There is a tendency to collapse into chairs constricting the diaphragm and lung cavity which prevents prana, vital life force energy, from fully entering.  Not only does this deplete you energetically, this also impacts your moods, prana = positivity! Therefore taking regular “breath for life” breaks can empower and enhance your day in many ways.
So to open chest, heart, lungs and mind, here are 3 top stretches to expand and unwind and enjoy this breath-led body-mind reset!
(1) Gomukhasana
“Cow-face pose” is an asymmetrical stretch that is powerful and challenging.  Practice “ahimsa” and move gently into this, using a tie or scarf to bind the posture by connecting your hands until they naturally meet.
– exhale down and ground through your feet,  inhale up through your crown to the sky, feel your spine lengthening
–  inhale your left arm up to the sky
– exhale your left hand down towards your spine
– inhale your right arm up to sky
– exhale your right hand down and rotate your elbow to turn your hand up to find your left
– enjoy 5 long, deep breaths, smooth and firm
– on inhales breathe into your diaphragm and front of spine, grow the crown of your head to the sky, relax your chin
– on exhales draw your head back towards your hands and your navel to your spine to exhale out through your back
– Change sides
(2) Garudasana
“Eagle pose” is the perfect counter posture to Gomukhasna, inviting you to breath into the back of your body, focussing on the thoracic spine.
– inhale your arms open wide at 90 degrees, like a “T”
– exhale your right arm under your left
– draw your palms together (as much as you can)
– on inhales breathe into the back of your diaphragm and lift your elbows gently
– on exhales draw your navel upwards and backwards, feel your spine grow out of your pelvis, lengthening and strengthening
– enjoy 5 long, deep, breaths, smooth and firm
release at the end of the final exhale
– Enjoy 5 – 10 slow, smooth breath-led arm circles, rising your arms up and drawing them back on the inhale, exhaling your arms down by your side
Change sides
(3) Reverse Namaste
Another chest and heart opener which invites full diaphragmatic breathing.
– Inhale your arms up above your head, lengthen from your feet, through your sit-bones to the sky
– Exhale your arms behind your back and gently draw your palms together
If you are not yet able to to do this – hold your opposite elbows until your flexibility increases
– Enjoy 5 long, deep, breaths, smooth and firm 
– on inhales breath fully into the front, back and sides of your ribs, feeling your diaphragm expanding like a hot air balloon
– on exhales, soften your shoulders and draw navel to spine to connect with your core, feel your spine growing up out of your pelvis
– enjoy 5 long, deep, breaths, smooth and firm
– release at the end of the final exhale and extend your arms out in a wide “T”
– Enjoy 5 – 10 slow, smooth breath-led arm circles, rising your arms up and drawing them back on the inhale, exhaling your arms down by your side

Simple yet profound.  The magic of yoga, whether on retreat with us here in Ibiza, or in bite-size desk-slices, is to practice every day.  So why not set a tinkling timer every 45 mins – 1 hour for a breath-for-life break that will enhance your health and happiness in many ways?