Kino MacGregor's 7-Pose Yoga Break for Stress Relief

Next time you find yourself bogged down with emails and to-dos, take 10 minutes to disconnect from the computer screen and practice this short yoga sequence.

After three days of vacation I sat down and opened my computer to meet nearly 300 emails. As I sent replies to a few, more came in. I felt buried under a mountain of e-stress. While I don’t work a typical 9-to-5 desk job, I am never not working. If I’m not on the mat, then I’m in front of my computer writing blogs like this one, answering emails, and generally planning how to take over the world. Just kidding—sort of.

Staring at a computer screen for what feels like endless hours is daunting and emotionally draining. It also makes your hips really tight and puts stress on the back. We all know that hunched over, rounded back position that somehow takes over any good intentions to sit up straight. And we all feel it the next day on our mats. It’s as though the more difficult the assignment, the more you have to concentrate and the worse your posture becomes. My secret tip for keeping my hips relatively open and the back supported during long hours of work or travel is to sit cross-legged as often as possible. Switch up the dominant or top leg repeatedly to distribute the weight. Keep the belly drawn in and the chest expanded. From a physiological point of view strengthening your posture helps you breathe deeply and keep an emotionally resilient spirit. If your desk chair is too small to cross your legs in, then get a bigger chair. Or exchange your chair for an exercise ball to build balance and core strength while working.

Posture by itself is no magic solution. Even if you sit in Padmasana with perfect posture all day, there are always distractions. My biggest temptation while working on the computer is to drift away from the task at hand into the infinite world of online shopping. But there is a difference between distracting yourself and truly relieving stress. Next time you find yourself bogged down with emails and to-dos with no motivation to dive in and get the job done, take 10 minutes to disconnect from the computer screen and practice this short yoga sequence to clear your mind, release tension in the hips, and strengthen the back. Return to work refreshed, recharged, and inspired.

See alsoElena Brower's Office Yoga Sequence to Restore and Rejuvenate

7-Pose Midday Yoga Break