Reduce Stress Without Leaving Your Desk

Barbara Weltman Being a small-business owner is stressful by definition. Stress can also affect your staff (25% of employees believe their job is the biggest stress in their lives). Dr. Ron Knaus, D.O., who works within the medical profession and corporate world to help individuals reach peak performance levels, believes performing a few Tai Chi forms every day can get the body moving, relax the mind and, more importantly, reduce stress.

Here are his five forms to do once each day from the comfort of your desk chair:

Form 1: "Removing Egg from Bird Nest"
Sit in your chair and exhale while dropping your arms to the side (keep shoulders dropped as well). Bring your fingers and thumbs together on each hand as though you were lifting an egg out of a bird's nest. Inhale while extending your arms laterally, keeping your elbows bent and, very slowly, bring them over your head. Try to touch your wrists; then let go of the egg. Bring your arms down, pushing out with your hands. Slowly bring your arms and hands to your sides until they form a 45-degree angle (which forms the letter A).

Form 2: "Stroke the Sparrow's Back"
Starting with the position from which you ended Form 1, bring your arms to the front and grasp an imaginary "Energy Ball," keeping your right arm on top of the ball (hand facing down) and your left arm about 12" below (hand facing up). Bring your right arm down and place your right hand on your right hip while extending your left arm high above your head (as if you were stroking a bird's back feathers with your right hand while your left hand slides upward under the bird's neck). As you move your hands and arms, sit tall in your chair, extending your back to the ceiling.

Form 3: "Capture the Wave"
Starting with the position from which you ended Form 2, inhale and grasp the "Energy Ball" again (right hand on top, left on bottom, about 12" apart). Feeling the energy between your hands, slowly rotate your waist and body to the right while extending your arms to the right to grasp an imaginary wave (about 24" in height). Form the letter C with your fingers and thumb on each hand. Extend as you exhale. As you inhale, bring your arms back to the center to grasp the Energy Ball (rotating so that your left hand is on top and your right hand on the bottom, 12" apart). While exhaling, extend your arms out to the left, making the letter C with your fingers and thumb.

Four 4: "Stroke the Sparrow's Back"
Starting with the position from which you ended Form 3, repeat Form 2, but on the opposite side (so that you end with your right arm and hand extended above your head). Come back to the center, grasping the Energy Ball with your right hand on top.

Form 5: "Kick the Stars"
Starting with the position from which you ended Form 4, slowly bring your right hand and arm down behind your chair while slowly extending your right leg to a 90-degree angle from the pelvis. Extend your left hand and arm upward as your toes kick the stars. Reverse and repeat with the opposite side.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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