Breathing Break on a Chair
Yoga Tip by Julie Gudmestad Chairs can be a mixed blessing in our society. While they allow us to "take a load off our feet", too many of us end up slumping, which contributes to poor posture and associated back and neck pain. That slump also affects our breathing and even our digestion, as it compresses the diaphragm, lungs, and digestive organs. Here's a simple way to use your chair for a quick breathing break instead. You'll need a chair that hits your mid-back, around the bottoms of your shoulder blades, when you sit back into it. A metal folding "yoga chair" works great for this, but unfortunately, a chair with wheels probably won't. Place the back of the chair 6 - 7 inches from the nearest wall, sit down, and slide your butt all the way back. Lean back, so the top of the chair back gives a little lift to your chest, and rest your head on the wall. Let your arms hang freely just behind the chair. With the chair giving a lift to your chest, your diaphragm is uncompressed and your lungs are open. Take a minute or two to breathe and clear your mind: you can think of it as a mini yoga practice, without having to dig out props or get down on the floor. Just let your mind follow your breath as it rolls up from the lower abdomen toward your collarbones, and flows back down on the exhale. Don't push the breath, let it be soft and smooth. Your break should be relaxing, like watching waves on the beach.