Your fatigued brain and desk-bound body can certainly benefit from desk yoga says David Beckham’s former trainer
By Catherine Orda | Lead photo from Instagram
On average, perfect concentration—a coveted state of mind in which focus is at its peak–can only last for 45 minutes. After the 45-minute mark, your brain goes into a “break zone,” slowly turning into a vessel of dwindling concentration and increasing fatigue, which makes productivity an impossibility.
But rather than force yourself to go back to occupying that headspace and continue working, you might want to embrace this break instead. Shona Vertue, former yoga instructor and personal trainer of David Beckham and founder of the Vertue Method, has created a workout that seeks to maximize the supposed benefits of this involuntary respite. She calls it “desk yoga,” a five-minute, eight-step sequence that can slowly enhance your ability to focus as well as rid your body of the aches brought about by sitting too long.
According to Vertue, desk yoga is best practiced every 45 minutes. But you can always try it out whenever you suddenly find yourself struggling to concentrate and staring blankly (and desperately) at your computer screen, your back aching and your neck stiff. Here’s how it’s done:
With your eyes closed, take three deep breaths. For every breath, make sure to inhale for three seconds and exhale for three seconds. “The breath is very closely linked to the state of your nervous system, so keeping a calm and rhythmic breath can help to relax your body while awakening the mind,” writes Vertue.
With your eyes closed, take your head to the left. Then lift your chest let your opposite shoulder pull away from you. Repeat on the right side.
Hold your fingers together behind your head and slowly lift your sternum. Make sure you don’t drop your head too far back. Instead, use your hands to distance you from the back of the neck.
With your right hand on the outside of your left leg, take a seated side stretch. Then raise your left arm. With your head turned towards your armpit, lean to the right. Make sure you don’t compress your right side by lengthening your left side. Repeat on the right side.
Lift your chest and take a seated twist to the left and right.
This step is simple enough. All you have to do is yawn. “It’s really good for you. It helps the brain to reset. In fact when you yawn, you’re actually stimulating a neural area of the brain that plays a significant role in being more conscious and alert (while also relaxed),” writes Vertue.
Interlace your fingers and stretch them as far as you can.
Finally, make circular motions with your ankles and then wiggle your toes. While this step may not seem like it will do much for your energy levels, Vertue insists that “it will help stimulate the venous blood pooling at the bottom of your feet, which will support your general energy levels.”