Chair Yoga Therapy For Coworkers

April 21, 2017/ by Sara Grazi

The Yard: Lincoln Square had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Emily Kiberd from Urban Wellness Clinic for a lesson and demonstration on chair yoga therapy and ergonomics. Dr. Kiberd is a practicing chiropractor focusing on movement and prevention. Her goal is to provide patients with the right tools to keep their body aligned, healthy and strong.

At The Yard, we pride ourselves on providing ergonomic chairs and desks. However, with all of the sitting that we do at the workplace, it’s safe to assume that most of us have room for improvement when it comes to our posture. We’ve all found ourselves at one point slumped over our desk staring at our laptop. This can lead to headaches, repetitive-motion injuries like carpal tunnel and the dreaded afternoon energy slump. To top it off, poor posture leads to poor breathing which directly influences your productivity. It’s important to pay attention to both to ensure that your muscles don’t adapt to a detrimental daily routine.

Exercises For the Brain and The Body

Dr. Kiberd demonstrated some office-friendly yoga therapy to help us stretch and strengthen while sitting or standing at our desks. These small exercises increase oxygen flow to the brain and can take as little as five minutes! Best of all, no floor space, yoga mat or gym clothes are required.

During our session, Dr. Kiberd pointed out individual changes we needed to make in order to stretch properly. Each of us had formed habits that we hadn’t noticed before. If you don’t have a visiting chiropractor, ask a friend or try the stretches in a mirror to check your form.

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Training ourselves to form new habits in the workplace.

Training ourselves to form new habits in the workplace.

Dr. Kiberd also demonstrated optimal breathing. “The dream” is to keep your exhales twice as long as your inhales. This helps our bodies remain calm, and it can be a powerful mood enhancer. Try doing it ten times, it’s harder than it sounds. Ideally, we should only be in ‘fight or flight’ mode 20% of the time and calm the other 80%.

Training Ourselves to Maintain Balance

Sometimes, when something feels tight or stressed, it seems logical that that area is the issue. However, this may be a telling sign that another area is weak. When we teach the right area to engage and fire, the tight area will relax and de-stress.

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An open Q&A with Dr. Emily Kiberd

An open Q&A with Dr. Emily Kiberd

The stretching and strengthening moves we learned are tools we can take with us throughout the work day. If we build these into our daily routine, we are essentially giving ourselves micro-doses of good habits. One simple hack is to set your smartwatch to “buzz” you every 90 minutes and stop to check your posture and breathing. Do a quick stretch or ten breaths to reap the rewards and up your productivity. You could also see benefit at the gym as you rebalance yourself at work and stop stressing your body all day long.

Following the demonstration, we picked the doctor’s brain with an open Q & A, and she reminded us to always personalize and have fun with the exercises!

Special thanks to Dr. Emily Kiberd and Urban Wellness Clinic for showing us how yoga therapy can help us be our best and most productive self at the workplace!