The majority of us spend far too much of our day sitting. According to the World Health Organization more than a quarter of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion adults) are insufficiently active.
In the short term a sedentary lifestyle makes us feel sluggish and stiff. While longer term consequences include an increased risk to a variety of health complications.
In contrast regular physical activity improves our mood, makes our body feel more comfortable and increases our energy levels. It also provides many long term physical and mental health benefits.
If you have a job or lifestyle that includes long periods of sitting it's therefore helpful to add in regular movement breaks into your day. A 10 minutes standing yoga practice focused on moving your entire body can be a great activity to break up your day.
Want to get straight into a guided practice? You can practice along with Irene’s 10 minute standing yoga break from sitting YouTube video.
Standing Yoga Flow Sequence
The below standing yoga flow sequence is something you can experiment with at home.
Mountain Pose, Side Bend Variations
Come to standing in the Mountain Pose, feet together or hip-distance apart. Reach your arms up and over head on your inhale.
Hold your right wrist with your left hand and on your exhale lean over to the left side. Inhale come back through the center and lengthen through your spine. And then exhale as you hold your left wrist with your right hand and lean to the right side.
You can start moving fluidly back and forth from side to side. This is a great way to slowly warm up the body and stretch the sides of your body.
After moving back and forth a few times you can try pausing for a few breaths leaning to the side. And then slowly coming out and pausing a few breaths on the other side.
Transition from your Mountain Pose to the Chair Pose by dropping your hips down and back.
Try to draw your weight back into your heels and squeeze your inner thighs towards each other. At the same time reach your arms actively up while doing your best to keep your shoulders relaxed.
See if you can breathe in and out through your nose while keeping your spine long and belly firm. Stay here for around five slow and steady breaths. If you like you could repeat the posture several times.
Take a big step back with your left foot and face the long side of your mat. Arms can reach out wide on your inhale and exhale as you engage your legs and lengthen your spine. Inhale as you reach your right arm down towards your right leg and left arm up.
Stay here for around five breaths working on lengthening your arms away from each other and head away from your hips.
When your ready slowly step back forward to the front of the mat and repeat on the left side.
Side Angle Pose
Set up in a similar way to the triangle pose by taking a big step back with your left foot and turning your torso to the long side of your mat. This time you can bend your right knee deeply while you actively draw your left hip back.
Right arm can be resting lightly on your right thigh while you reach your left arm up and over your head. Keep your legs active and lengthen through your torso as you pause here for around five breaths.
Repeat the same posture on the opposite side.
Standing Balance Knee-to-Chest
Start by spreading your toes out wide and grounding your feet into your mat. Shift your weight into your left leg and your inhale slowly lift your right knee up.
If it feels comfortable you can place your hands under your right knee and use your hands to lift your right knee a little up. At the same time see if you can keep your standing leg long and active and upper body tall.
Stay here for around five breaths and then slowly release and repeat on the opposite side.
Yoga Break at Work
If you’ve got the possibility, why not try using this 10 minutes standing yoga sequence as a short yoga break at work? If you’ve got a desk job it can feel really refreshing to take an active break.
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