My Top 25 Movements at My Standing Work Station

I spend several hours a day writing, studying, and managing the Yoga Collective of Yakima. Several months ago, I transitioned from sitting to standing at a DIY work station. Standing (in good aligment) has so many benefits over sitting. I’ll mention just a few:

  1. It makes the bones of your legs weight bearing, thus signaling them to build greater density. This is especially important for you hips
  2. It innervates the muscles of your posterior kinetic chain (back, butt and hamstrings), improving the flow of blood, electricity (nerve signals), and lymph (cellular waste removal)
  3. It strengthens your legs because they are having to work to hold you up. I’ve always had a shapely bottom, but spindly, flabby legs – think $10,000 hat on a 10 cent head. After standing for a few months, my legs, for the first time ever, are beginning to look toned and strong.
  4. I have been plagued with varicose veins for most of my adult life. Since standing to work, I still have them, but they are definitely improving.
  5. And my favorite benefit is that if affords me many, many opportunities for movement nutrition.

If you sit all day for work, you are putting your health in grave danger. Just google “sitting is the new smoking” or “dangers of sitting too much,” and you will get a gazillion hits, including sobering research on the subject. But if you decide to stand instead, it is critical that you not trade one form of sedentary (sitting) with another – standing still. Here is just a sampling of the ways that I move, when I am standing at my work station. I’ve included descriptions, links to tutorials, and/or images for many of them.

  • Calf stretch – you can buy SPRI Foam Roller Full Round – 36-Inch x 6-Inch Diameter Foam Roller from Amazon and cut it down to size. I cut mine into three 6″ pieces and one 18″ piece and use them in a variety of ways. For detailed alignment on the calf stretch, check out Petra Fisher at Movement Revolution. She’s super smart about alignment and standing work stations.
    Calf stretch
  • Top of foot stretch
  • Top of foot stretch
  • Ball rolling – See also a great article and video from Terry Littlefield at Yoga Tune Up
  • Calf elevators – you can lift and lower or work on holding in balance
  • Calf raises aka calf elevators

    Calf raises aka calf elevators

  • Toe lifts
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Hamstring stretch

    Hamstring stretch

  • Monster walk – an entertaining video from my teacher, biomechanist Katy Bowman, doing the monster walk. I go side to side in from of my desk when I am listening to lectures.
  • Shoulder strap – i explore many movements – shoulder flexion, shoulder extension, twists, lateral bends, varying the distance between my hands, etc.
  • Strap play

    Strap play

  • Quad stretch
  • Quad stretch

    Quad stretch

  • Hand stretches – there are so many variations, but basically, you are stretching your fingers in their natural ranges of motion
  • Finger extensions

    Finger extensions

  • Rock tray
  • Pelvic list – a little tamer video from Katy Bowman
  • Giant step – this can be done on any height surface – stool, chair seat, counter, etc.
  • Giant step

    Giant step

  • Distance gazing (opposite of navel gazing) – Step away from your station, look out the window, and let your gaze soften and become hazily focused (not squinting) on something further off in the distance. Try to pick out architectural landmarks, differentiate between leaves and branches, follow birds in flight, anything to relax the muscles you use 99% of the time staring at screens, books, television, and anything within a few feet of your face.
  • Head hang
  • Head hang

    Head hang

  • Three deep breaths – Stop what you are doing; allow your arms to hang by your sides; close your eyes and take three deep, chest expanding breaths
  • Arm swings – swing your arms forward and back. Let the work happen on the back swing and the ride happen on the forward swing. You can alternate arms to simulate a the arm swing that happens when you walk. Or, you could swing them forward and backward in sync. Try to keep your elbow pits (where you give blood) facing forward, but your hands facing your hips!
  • Alignment check – this is what I do each time I realize that I’ve zoned out and gotten too still (sedentary)
  • Squatting – I show a desk squat here; but you could do utkatasana or a full squat
  • squatdesk
  • Single leg balances – any single leg balance will do. Try to keep your hips back and your quads relaxed
  • Vrksasana (tree pose)
  • Lateral flexion
  • lateralflexdesk

    Lateral spinal flexion

  • Garudasana arms
  • Garudasana (eagle) arms

    Garudasana (eagle) arms

  • Strong yoga foot 
  • Thoracic stretch
  • thoracicdesk

Don’t just stand there, keep moving!

Namaste, Michele