As more and more organisations have started realising the impact of employees’ health on the companies’ overall performance, it's important to integrate different physical activities into our corporate wellness programs. Having long proven to provide many mental and physical benefits, Yoga is increasingly finding its way into the workplace at a global level.

Office workers often spend long working hours slouching over their desks and unknowingly stretching their necks forward as they keep staring at their computer screens. This unnatural posture is unhealthy and can cause back pain, neck strain, and shoulder stiffness which interrupts productivity as employees are distracted by the discomfort and unable to focus on the tasks on their hands.

Yoga can help create healthy, less-stressed and motivated employees who are more productive and cost-effective for organisations. Encouraging employees to take just 10 minutes during work hours to practice some simple yoga stretches or breathing exercises at their desk or step out in the fresh air and under the sun will be more beneficial.

If your job requires you to sit for several hours a day, here are a few 5 to 10 minutes of stretches and exercises while you are at your desk, which may help you relieve stiffness, stimulate some blood flow and help you push through your mid-afternoon slump.

Stretching out your arms

1. Triceps Stretches
  • Raise your arm and bend it so that your hand reaches toward the opposite side
  • Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side
2. Overhead Reach, or Latissimus Stretch
  • Extend each arm overhead
  • Reach to the opposite side
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side
3. Upper Body and Arm Stretch
  • Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing outward
  • Push your arms up, stretching upward
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds

Stretching your Torso

4. Shoulder, or Pectoralis Stretch
  • Clasp hands behind your back
  • Push the chest outward, and raise the chin
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds
5. Forward Stretch
  • Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms
  • Press forward and hold for 10 to 30 seconds
6. Torso Stretch, or Trunk Rotation
  • Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward
  • Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of your chair
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds
  • Repeat on another side

Head and Shoulder Stretches

7. Shoulder Shrug
  • Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears
  • Drop them and repeat 10 times each direction
8. Neck Stretches
  • Relax and lean your head forward.
  • Slowly roll toward one side and hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on another side
  • Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position
  • Do this three times in each direction
9. Upper Trap Stretch
  • Gently pull your head toward each shoulder until a light stretch is felt
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds
  • Alternate once on each side
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