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March 4th 2022
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Chair Yoga for Remote Workers

Session overview


What to expect:

In this 30 minute session we’ll explore some new ways to bring movement into your daily work life, all right from your chair. Remote work tends to keep us in a pattern of few positions during the day (sitting, standing, rounding forward). It’s crucial to add diversity and challenge to our movement patterns to keep our bodies feeling their best. Movement is a great way to nurture connection with our body and its needs. When we move well, we can think and live well, too.

This session is accessible for any and all bodies. Come with an open mind and a willingness to try something new.

Edit Transcript

Amanda Gorman – Chair Yoga for Remote Workers

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Matt Graham: Hey, when, uh, [00:03:00] what do you get when a Canadian and an American walk into an Australian themed bar?

Rachel Winchester: Hi, I’m not sure.

Matt Graham: Well, I don’t either, but our next speaker is Amanda Gorman and she’s going to be presenting chair yoga for remote work. Amanda helps nonprofits and wellness based businesses build thriving online communities as a customer success manager at GiveWP.

Matt Graham: She works diligently each day to assist nonprofits in growing their communities and receiving more donations online to make a bigger impact in the world.

Amanda Gorman: Hello.

Matt Graham: Hello.

Amanda Gorman: How are you?

Matt Graham: Good, you?.

Amanda Gorman: I’m doing well. Happy to be here.

Matt Graham: Awesome, well take it away.

Amanda Gorman: Awesome. Sounds good. Welcome everyone. I thank you for joining me wherever you are in the world for a little bit of time to just slow down.

Amanda Gorman: So that’s going to be the [00:04:00] theme for this session today. Just kind of taking some time to just be here. And see what’s going on in our bodies, explore how we’re feeling and truly just take a pause if you’re anything like me, uh, I’m kind of going all the time, just with all the projects, the work, the family, all the things, right?

Amanda Gorman: So making pausing and slowing down a priority can be a challenge. And that’s where for me, my yoga practice comes into play. So thank you again for being. First to get set up. Uh, you can be in any arrangement in any form of a chair. I, it can be a wheelie chair. It doesn’t need to be a chair like mine. Um, just find a place where you’re going to feel comfortable.

Amanda Gorman: That’s the goal. And I have a blanket underneath my seats. So if you do have something nearby that you can prop yourself up a little bit higher, I find that that helps to allow yourself to [00:05:00] grow tall through the spine. As you do, come into a seat. Sometimes our comfortable chairs tend to let us round in the low back, uh, which just puts a little unnecessary pressure here.

Amanda Gorman: So start to find yourself grounding in your seats, find your feet on your floor in front of you. Maybe you scooch forward a little bit in your chair to really feel yourself not feeling the temptation of leaning back. And you’re really trying to activate the muscles. In the abdomen and the whole trunk of the body to sit up as tall as you possibly can.

Amanda Gorman: So the first is bringing awareness to that height in your spine. Thinking about maybe a string from the very top of your head, pulling yourself up. Can you find even just a little bit more space, maybe from the vertebra in the back of the neck? To where it meets the base of your [00:06:00] neck. Maybe the shoulders can relax down into the back.

Amanda Gorman: The hands can find a nice, comfortable spot to rest.

Amanda Gorman: I’m kind of following that down the spine where maybe that tricky spot right between the shoulder blades might find a little bit more space and into the. Low back. I’m just feeling the pelvis resting firmly on your chair, the legs on the chair and the feet on the floor.

Amanda Gorman: Stay with that height, that length that you’ve created. Notice where you might be holding tension in your jaw, in the space [00:07:00] between your eyes.

Amanda Gorman: Maybe take a nice, big exhale out through the mouth here can make it really loud and make it audible. Let the jaw on hinge on the way out. Let’s do that another two times.

Amanda Gorman: Really let the shoulders drop one more.

Amanda Gorman: Allow yourself to just sit in this space here for a moment to truly pause, physically stopping our body. To hopefully allow our mind to catch up to the pace that we’re entering in these few moments that we’ll have together.[00:08:00]

Amanda Gorman: I can notice the sounds in your environment, the temperature of your room.

Amanda Gorman: Tell your close feel against your skin

Amanda Gorman: and the breath moving in your body.

Amanda Gorman: Stay with your breath here.[00:09:00]

Amanda Gorman: And then just starting to move some fingers and toes again, noticing the sounds in the room that you’re in.

Amanda Gorman: And if your eyes were closed, go ahead and blink them back open. You can choose to keep your eyes closed. If you just would like to listen to my prompts, whatever works for you. We’re just going to start moving through the neck first. So we’re going to drop our chin to the chest and not change anything else about our posture.

Amanda Gorman: We’re going to try to keep that length and not the chin as close as we can get to the chest.

Amanda Gorman: And we’re just going to make little circles drawing or kind of half circles rather drawing the chin over to one shoulder so that you’re kind of looking over that shoulder and bring the chin [00:10:00] back to center and draw it over. The other shoulder can be really small movements, especially if the neck is feeling particularly tight.

Amanda Gorman: Let’s do that another time when you decide,

Amanda Gorman: and as you come to that second side, pause there and keep turning to look over that shoulder as if you could line up your chin and the tip of your shoulder.

Amanda Gorman: Good. And we’re going to come back through the middle, down, back to the chest over to that other side and just pausing as you bring the chin right over top of the shoulder. Not trying to hype that shoulder up higher.[00:11:00]

Amanda Gorman: I’m trying to keep it level and bring the chin back down to send you. At bringing the chin back up to neutral and just kinda shake the shoulders out there. Might’ve been some tension growing in there in between the shoulder blades. Maybe you hear some nice sounds coming from moving the shoulders this way.

Amanda Gorman: That’s all good. Go the other direction. Moving those shoulders and bigs.

Amanda Gorman: Notice which way feels maybe a little more comfortable than the other.

Amanda Gorman: Good start to let that settle here. We’re going to come back to the neck here, bringing the chin down to the chest.

Amanda Gorman: And bringing the chin up towards the ceiling. And again, trying to keep your torso, not moving. We’re keeping everything really stable in our spine. [00:12:00] If you think about drawing the rib cage in, without talking the tailbone,

Amanda Gorman: drop the chin back down to the chest.

Amanda Gorman: Let’s bring the chin back up towards the ceiling again, and I’m holding my rib cage here because it kind of allows me to have a cue to keep everything in and not back bend here. Cause that’s when I opened my neck, our lumbar and our cervical spine are connected and a lot of ways there are secondary curves that develop.

Amanda Gorman: When we start to walk when we’re just babies and they’re supportive systems for us and they are deeply connected and we have to uncouple that connection to really create segmentation in our spine to physically slow down the way our body moves. [00:13:00] Let’s do just one more like that. Maybe you go a little bit more deeply in either direction to see if your range can expand, then come back, chin to chest. Once again, this time we’re going to put it all together. So starting with the chin. Bringing your chin over to one shoulder. Like we did originally looking over that shoulder and then sort of tipping the head back in that direction to bring the ear over the shoulder. But again, trying not to keep that shoulder from creeping up, keep it down and slowly, let it tilt back until it circles all the way over to the other side.

Amanda Gorman: Where you have your ear kind of [00:14:00] encroaching over that shoulder, as best as you can turning to look over that shoulder and bringing the chin back down, let’s go one more direction or one more time. That direction go slow.

Amanda Gorman: Notice your sticky parts, the spots that are just kind of like, Ooh, that doesn’t feel normal or familiar. And if there’s a painful spot, you can certainly skip anything that,

Amanda Gorman: but there’s a difference between discomfort and pain. As you come, bring that chin back to the chest. Go the other direction, drawing with your chin over the shoulder. First, looking over the shoulder, turning the head to bring the ear over the shoulder, leaning back with the [00:15:00] head, rolling around to the other side.

Amanda Gorman: Have you lost the integrity of your spine check. Check-in stay tall. We’re doing two rounds of this. So maybe you’re on your second round. Finishing up here. No rush.

Amanda Gorman: Bring it back to center. And again, I let go of that tension. You might’ve been holding the, keep the torso up. Just kinda let it go. Shake the shoulders out, let the arms be loose with the torso. Be loose now.

Amanda Gorman: All right. So just moving the legs around a bit, we haven’t been [00:16:00] moving the lower part of our body a bit yet, so it’s kind of bringing some awareness to the legs, bring the knees in and out,

Amanda Gorman: and then reground through your feet. Maybe check in with your seats. See if you need to readjust. Find that length through the spine. Once again, that string pulling you up as tall as you can be noticing. If you tend to back then in this position in draw the front of the rib cage of these bony sections here in the rib cage, draw them in towards the back of the body without talking the tailbone under, keep a nice curve in your low back.

Amanda Gorman: And then we’re going to start to play with what it feels like to move this section of the body, which is notoriously challenging. So we’re going to bring our hands as best we can to our sides. Maybe you can reach up to your rib cage and really feel that [00:17:00] section, or just bring your hands to your hips or to your waist.

Amanda Gorman: Whatever feels accessible. We’re just going to try to feel this rib cage reaching over the edge of your chair and back to center. And again, over one edge and back, let’s do this a couple times. It’s okay. If we’re not quite feeling it right away, we’re just playing, moving the body.

Amanda Gorman: Check-in that you’re breathing, not holding the breath, focusing on the movement,

Amanda Gorman: but being in your body in this moment and exactly what your body needs to sustain this activity, which is [00:18:00] breathing. Don’t stop breathing. Come back to center and such to just kind of bring yourself forward. Now we can kind of bring our hands to our legs and just feel a little bit of a back then the chest coming forward.

Amanda Gorman: Right. And then the opposite action is rounding through the upper back, trying to feel like you can collapse through the collarbones, the chest, maybe the head even drops tailbone curls under. And go the opposite action chest leans forward, maybe chin, chin lifts, tailbone reaches back again.

Amanda Gorman: Find your range here.

Amanda Gorman: Let’s do one more on each director.

Amanda Gorman: [00:19:00] And come back to center, we’re going to put it all together. So open the legs up a little bit wider, maybe come to the edge of your chair. So you have a little bit more room behind you and around you. So we’re gonna start to lean forward in, start to shimmy our way over to one side round lean over that chair come forward.

Amanda Gorman: So we’re stirring the pot.

Amanda Gorman: I imagine the pot is our pelvis and the spine is kind of that ladle in the pot and moving around, touching every corner of the pot.

Amanda Gorman: Hopefully you’re feeling some things here, waking some things up. Certainly go the other direction when you’re ready using the hands on the legs for support [00:20:00] and kind of this resistance tension that you can build to really just move through the torso. Keep the lower half in mobile. Really stationary,

Amanda Gorman: start to finish.

Amanda Gorman: And come back and slow yourself down and come back to that original position again. Readjust. All right. Now here, bring your hands to your hips and just start to feel a little tilt tucking under an untucking of the pelvis. So tucking under means you’re curling your tailbone underneath you rounding through the local.

Amanda Gorman: Untucking means we’re really sticking our bottom out. Kind of feeling that back then, sensation in the low back. See if you can come find that position back and forth and bonus points. If you can keep [00:21:00] your rib cage from moving very much, can you keep your upper body still as you move your pelvis? Not so easy.

Amanda Gorman: But that’s what I mean when we talk about segmentation of the spine, trying to isolate movement and every part, every vertebra can move individually instead of in sections. All right. Come back to a more neutral position in your pelvis. Notice what that’s like and reground through your feet here. So what I’m going to start doing with my feet is coming up onto my toes.

Amanda Gorman: You might not be able to see my toes quite, but I’m lifting up to lift my heels up off the floor, coming up onto my toes, and then coming back down, flexing my toes up towards the ceiling. And then again, coming up onto the toes, lift the heels up, bring the heels down and lift the toes up. Really flex them.[00:22:00]

Amanda Gorman: Good. Couple of times like that.

Amanda Gorman: Notice that the whole foot wants to lift up off the floor when you’re trying to lift your toes to see if you can lift only your toes when you’re flexing

Amanda Gorman: good, come back. And we’re gonna hold here with our feet on the floor. Heels on the floor. Toes lifted. Keep lifting the toes. And now can you start to bring your toes down one at a time from the pinky side first in, can you do one at a time? Try that a couple times, trying to find segmentation in your feet.

Amanda Gorman: It’s hard to do both at the same time, but do your best. And now try from the big toe. See if you can put just your big toe down, lift the other toes up. And then can the [00:23:00] second toe come down and then the third and so on down to the pinkies, that’s pretty much impossible for me, but I can pretend, and it works some serious muscles in the feet to try to make that happen.

Amanda Gorman: Maybe one day when you’re at the kitchen sink practice. Good. All right, let go of that tension in the feet. Roll the ankles, roll the knees around a little bit. Let that go. If you want to take a moment to take a sip of water or anything that you might need right now, I’m just going to check our time.

Amanda Gorman: Perfect.

Amanda Gorman: All right. So kind of moving our way back up the body. Now we’re going to start to extend one leg out and flex and point the foot. Roll the ankle

Amanda Gorman: roll the ankle the other way. [00:24:00]

Amanda Gorman: Good. And then if we would like a little extra here, we’re going to start to lift the knee up off the floor. No matter what foot is lifted. We’re just going to try to grab it, grab the leg, rather, grab the knee. See if you can hug that knee in towards your chest while keeping your spine nice and long.

Amanda Gorman: Like we have been, can you flex the foot? Spread the toes.

Amanda Gorman: Good. Hold that. And I’m going to ask you to press down through the other foot from. And imagine you’re going to let go of this leg, but it’s not going to going where this leg is going to stay lifted. Imagine that that’s a reality. Okay. So in 3, 2, 1, we’re going to let go see if we’re going to hold the leg up, squeeze it in for another three, two, and one, go ahead and let it go.

Amanda Gorman: Let the legs come in and out here [00:25:00] for a moment.

Amanda Gorman: All right, we’re going to try the other sides of readjust. If you need to extend the other leg and roll or I’m sorry, flexing point first and roll the foot. Roll the ankle

Amanda Gorman: rule the other direction.

Amanda Gorman: And then we’re going to start to flex that foot, bring the knee in towards the chest and hold onto the outside of that. Like, if that’s accessible for you today, you might also just pull if that feels better for you. It’s okay. If we can’t grab it and you know where we’re headed, we’re going to be pressing down through that other leg, firmly lifting through our chest, trying to stay nice and tall through the spine.

Amanda Gorman: And we’re going to imagine we’re going to let go of this leg in three, two, and actually let [00:26:00] go in one, hold it up. See if you can keep that leg lifted. See if you can even lift it a little higher and hold for three, two, and one, go ahead and let that go. Shake it out. Do whatever feels good to release that tension.

Amanda Gorman: Good ground down through the feet. Once again.

Amanda Gorman: We’re going to start to bring our arms up towards the back of our head, lifting the elbows up, interlace the hands in the back of the head and kind of let the head rest up against the back of the hands a bit. Find that length in your spine once more. And this time we’re going to start to bring one elbow down towards the floor.

Amanda Gorman: And really focusing on opening up the other side, ribcage. So not back bending here, but instead, really side bending, opening up through the waist,[00:27:00]

Amanda Gorman: keep grounded through both feet. And so to bring it back with control. And we’ll go do the other side. So dipping that other elbow down, trying to point the other elbow up towards the ceiling. Any amount

Amanda Gorman: notice if your back bending instead of side bending, keep this in the side.

Amanda Gorman: Good. Such as slowly come back with. Dip to the other side, the original side. Once again, and this time we’re going to point the top elbow forward as if we’re pointing our chest to the floor. And that top elbow now starts to become the bottom elbow. As we rule over to the other side. Now we’re on [00:28:00] the opposite side.

Amanda Gorman: Good. So to pull yourself all the way back up. Good. Now we’re going to drop the opposite side first, where we just were go back in that direction. Doesn’t really matter which direction you’re going at the end of the day here. Just moving the body again, whichever elbow is on top is now going to start to point forward in front of you.

Amanda Gorman: So the chest starts to level out with the ground. That top elbow is going to start to become the bottom elbow. As you got to roll over to the other side and lift back up, go ahead and release the arms down and take a moment. Check in how that’s feeling.[00:29:00]

Amanda Gorman: I’m finding that height in your spine. Once more noticing the heartbeat, the warmth in your body,

Amanda Gorman: if it feels good to you here, close your eyes. Really start to tap back into the pace of your breath without needing to change it at all.[00:30:00]

Amanda Gorman: And even if thoughts arise and take you somewhere else, just for these last few moments, stay with your breath. Choosing to come back again. And again,

Amanda Gorman: thoughts don’t go away. We just become a little bit better at observing.[00:31:00]

Amanda Gorman: Again, just starting to notice the sounds in your room,

Amanda Gorman: not as how it feels to be in your body.

Amanda Gorman: When you feel ready to start to move some fingers and toes eventually blinking your eyes and coming back into your space.

Amanda Gorman: Just giving yourself a moment to be grateful for taking a pause for intentionally taking space in your day. To be with your body, to be with your mind [00:32:00] and to slow down and thank you for being at WordFest. Thank you for being here with me and I hope to see you again soon. Thank you.

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