I'm writing this at 2:06 p.m. as I ward off an attack of the yawns and a strong urge to curl up under my desk for a nap. Sadly, my stack of bills dictates that I put in a few more hours of work. But that doesn't mean I have to slog through the rest of the afternoon, half-awake.
According to Chinese medicine, the kidneys are a major source of qi, or vital energy. It makes sense from a Western perspective, since the adrenal glands, source of the heart-racing hormone adrenaline, sit right on top of the kidneys. The biggest energy point associated with the kidneys is in the middle of your back, where your thoracic spine (the middle back) meets the lumbar spine (the low back). The thoracic spine ends where your lowest bottom rib attaches to the spine, an inch or so below your bra line. (I don't mean to exclude any men in our midst I'm fairly certain you know where the bra goes even if you don't have your own personal bra line. Right?)
This particular spot is important because it's where the spinal column branches out into a lot of smaller nerves, making it an important link between the upper and lower bodies. If you can stimulate this spot, you increase your energy and get it circulating throughout the entire body. The simplest way to do this is to twist the spine at just this spot. And a swiveling office chair makes this incredibly easy.
I learned this tip from Danny Dreyer (chirunning.com), the author of ChiRunning and ChiWalking. He's a great source for ways to turn everyday activities, like walking and running, into opportunities to become healthier, more relaxed, and more aware of your body. Check him out!
Ready, Set, Swivel
You need an office chair with a rotating seat to do this; otherwise these directions will be mighty confusing.
- Sitting up tall in your office chair, scooch back so that you can just hold on to the edge of your desk with your outstretched arms.
- Pick your feet up off the floor.
- Keep holding on to the desk with your arms relatively straight so that your upper body stays facing forward and begin swiveling your lower body and the chair seat to the right and left.
- You dont have to do any fancy breathing; just make sure youre not holding your breath.
- Continue for about a minute.
Of course, you dont have to reserve this exercise for the mid-afternoon blahs. You can use it any time you need to perk up. Perhaps it can even help you avoid that extra coffee or doughnut you tend to crave when your energy levels start to dip.