We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.
Today we’ve asked guest-author Jenny Blake to share tips on introducing yoga to your life. So today’s challenge is a quick one: Take 5 minutes to do these 5 simple moves.
When it comes to yoga, you’ve heard about the countless benefits: improved circulation, strength and flexibility, reduced stress, improved mood, the list goes on! You’ve seen the droves of Lululemon-wearing, mat-toting women looking fit and radiant. You’re feeling stiff and a bit creaky, and yet something is keeping you from actually taking class (or at least as frequently as you’d like).
You might even be plagued by any of the following excuses:
If that’s the case, have no fear! Today we’re sharing five incredibly simple moves that can be done right from the comfort of your desk, each in 60-seconds or less.
Money-back guarantee: if you try all five and DON’T feel at least a little bit (if not a whole lot) better afterward, you have my permission for a get-out-jail-free card for all future yoga classes.*
*Caveat: I do recommend beginners
suffer through stick with at least 5-10 classes before declaring it’s not for them—even the veterans among us feel bored, antsy, annoyed and impatient from time-to-time! Focus on how you feel afterward, and the subtle changes it initiates within your body and mind.
5 Simple Yoga Moves You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less
1. Reset by Relaxing Your Face
Did you know we have 43 muscles in our face? That’s a lot of opportunities for us to unknowingly build and hold tension.
Try this right now, for at least one minute:
2. Relax and Roll Your Head to Release Tension in Your Neck
As the adorable boy in Jerry Maguire informed us all, the human head weighs an average of 10 pounds. Our neck and shoulders carry the brunt of this baggage all day, and sometimes they can use a break!
Before you keep reading, try this short exercise:
3. Roll Your Ankles and Stretch Your Feet
According to eOrthopod, “The ankle joint is a strong joint that can support up to 1.5 times your body weight when you walk. For this reason, your ankle has several strong muscles that support it, providing stability. These muscles allow movement in the ankle, helping you to point, flex and circle the foot.”
Sooo . . . you know what this means…time to give your ankles some love. Take the next minute to focus on your feet (you might not even have to take your shoes off if they have some flex to them — pun intended!):
4. Align Your Spine: Sit up Straight
Freeze! Before you move, notice how you are sitting: are your shoulders slumped over? Is your back curled? Are your shoulders hiked up toward your ears?
Take a minute right now to straighten up your spine. Here are all the little details to pay attention to (who knew sitting up straight could be so
Now, I fully realize you may not sit like this all day, but have fun with practicing this series of adjustments each time you catch yourself slumped, hunched or otherwise rounded (while sitting OR standing).
5. Wrist Assist: Roll, Flex, Fold & Disco
Sitting hunched over at our computers isn’t just bad for our posture, it can be taxing for our wrists too (not to mention texting thumb — an actual affliction!). According to WebMD, there is strong evidence that yoga can reduce wrist pain and increase strength. Here are three exercises to start with:
Bonus: disco, baby! Do the wave: clasp your hands together to make a fist with fingers interlaced, then make waves with one elbow lifting, wrists lowering, snaking through the middle, and ending up with the other elbow lifting, then lowering and repeating. Brain bender: switch directions!
Keep going for 60 seconds, and wrap the whole move around your head if you’re feeling saucy and want to loosen up your shoulder joints too
6. Bonus: SMILE!
I was fortunate to spend a few months in Southeast Asia at the start of last year as part of an experiment to see if I could run my business abroad, not just in theory but in mosquito-ridden practice.
One thing I was awed by was how Balinese people in particular have the most beautiful full-toothed smile—unrestricted and unencumbered. It is a joyful feeling to walk down the street, lock eyes with a perfect stranger, and connect with a full-on genuine, authentic smile. People in the states are not nearly as forthcoming with this gift.
Now, I know it may sound ridiculous but right now I want you to:
Notice how many happy thoughts actually follow after the physical movement—it is scientifically proven that our body language can actually change and inform our mood (not just the other way around). So often we wait to feel happy first, then smile and exude joy. What if you were to try it the other way around?
The five moves above will bring more pep to your step, but if you’re looking for a deeper dive that you can do from your desk, be sure to check out Yoga Journal’s 15-day Office Yoga Series.
What moves recharge you in 60-seconds or less? Set a timer for 5 minutes and hop to it!
Jenny Blake is a bestselling author, career and business strategist and international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. You can find her at JennyBlake.me where she explores systems at the intersection of mind, body and business. For fun, Jenny teaches a Geek Yoga class in New York City for entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.