2-Minute Yoga Moves


Susi Hately

yoga01Managing family, personal life, career, in addition to financial woes in the current state of the economy can bring on stress to anyone. The consequences are manifested in sleepless nights, pain in areas such as neck and shoulders, as well as anxiety and overall lower mood levels. The grey winter weather only adds to the “winter blues” that can affect everyday life.

Incorporating a few easy 2-minute yoga moves into your daily life can be the difference between dealing with excruciating pain and stress and being pain-free. Renowned yoga instructor, author, and founder of Functional Synergy, Susi Hately Aldous is dedicated to helping people overcome pain and injuries with a comprehensive regimen of customized yoga therapy programs.

Here, she shares a few very simple techniques for the desk worker, and anyone dealing with stress, who is seeking to alleviate much of the pain through easy stretching, breathing, and overall movement of the body.

Finding Calmness in a Sometimes Complex World

By the middle of the day, does your mind feel overworked? Do your shoulders ache, your neck cramp, or does that familiar feeling of tension enter into the space between your shoulder blades?

If, at that moment, you take time to consciously breathe, stretch or move your body, not only will your body feel better, your mind will clear, your creativity will rise and your work output will improve. Better yet, your connections with colleagues, customers, and clients will strengthen.

It takes less than 2 minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Sitting with feet on the ground. Breathe.
  2. Inhale, roll your shoulders to your ears.
  3. Exhale, pull your shoulder blades together and down your back.
  4. Repeat 10 times, keeping the jaw, eyes and tongue relaxed.

Moving your body helps unwind the “jumbled” feeling in the head that comes with overwork and stress. You’ll become clearer, calmer and more creative.

Release Your Hips

The hips, especially in women, can hold a concentrated amount of tension whether sitting for extended periods of time or standing on your feet for hours at a time. “I am really keen on enabling people to find a sense of ease and evenness during workdays, no matter what deadlines or curveballs occur,” says Susi and suggests doing this hip release exercise to balance any tension held there.

It takes less than 2 minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Come into standing and hold the wall, the back of your chair, or your desk for support.
  2. In standing, lift your right ankle onto your left knee.
  3. Gently bend your left knee. Breathe through your nose.
  4. Relax your jaw and your shoulders, and breathe easily for 5 to 10 breaths.
  5. You may feel some leg strengthening as well as hip releasing.
  6. Be sure there is no knee pain. If there is, ease up to a position where you feel no pain.
  7. Switch sides.

By releasing your hips you can reduce back pain, improve leg strength and build pelvic stability.

Twist It Out

The core area of the body may oftentimes feel stress from nervousness or digestive problems that can hit anyone morning or night. “I love this particular twist when I am spending my day working on the computer,” says Susi. “It helps wring out tension in the back, neck, and shoulders.”

It takes less than 2 minutes.
Here’s how:
1. Sit tall, feet firmly planted, sitting bones equally positioned on the chair.
2. Place your right hand on your left knee and your left hand behind you on your chair seat.
3. Inhale, and as you exhale, twist to your left. Be easy – don’t go to your maximum.

4. Take two more breaths and then switch direction.
5. Be sure you can breathe easy and your jaw is relaxed.

Nervous tension in the belly can lead to back pain, eye strain and general uneasiness. Releasing the associated muscular tension can bring much ease, calmness and clarity.

Chest Release to Ease the Neck, Shoulders and Back

Whether you use a laptop, BlackBerry, or desktop computer or whether you drive, fly, or sit at a desk for most of the working day, the tendency after a few hours of work is to slouch – spine rounded and head poking forward. When this type of posture is held for a period of time, the muscles in the chest and neck tighten. The following exercise releases the muscles of your chest to reinvigorate and rejuvenate.

It takes less than 2 minutes.

Here’s how:

  1. Sit at the edge of your chair with equal weight on your sitting bones.
  2. Feel your feet planted on the floor. Relax your toes. Breathe.
  3. Gently fist your hands, with thumbs pointing up to the ceiling.
  4. Move your arms backward – you may feel this in your chest and/or your arms.
  5. Relax your jaw, and keep your shoulders relaxed, and moving down your back (don’t let them round forward).
  6. Breathe four or five times, then release. Repeat three to five times, slowly and easily.

Releasing the muscles of the chest can ease tension in the neck, jaw, and back.

Your body changes from day to day and you alone know your body best. Please be responsible with it – move with awareness and in your pain free range of motion.

susi-headshotSusi Hately Aldous is a renowned yoga teacher and author of several international best-selling yoga books. Her latest title, Advancing Your Yoga Practice: the Art of Slowing Down launched in September 2008 and follows her other titles including Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga for the Desk Jockey and, Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries Series. Her yoga skills are enhanced by her B.Sc. in kinesiology, post-graduate training in mind-body medicine and ergonomics and, practical field experience assisting companies with disability management and workplace safety issues.

Susi’s main focus and expertise is in helping people overcome pain and injuries with her customized yoga therapy programs. Since 2004, Susi teaches a comprehensive therapeutic certification program for aspiring instructors to learn the importance of well-being as it affects various conditions. This training program, based on the Hatha yoga method, encompasses her wide range of acquired disciplines including kinesiology, yoga iRest (yoga nidra), rehabilitation, modern mind-body science and practical experience as an exercise therapist and ergonomics consultant. Find more info at www.functionalsynergy.com.

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