Don’t Forget to Breathe at the Office


web Bis Lisa Trivell

By Marissa Maier

Whether by plane, train or automobile, long journeys always seem to take a toll on one’s body. From deep aches in the spine, swelling in the limbs or stiffness in the joints, the travel to and from a destination is the least eagerly awaited part of a vacation. These ailments are not dissimilar to those experienced after a long stretch spent at a desk or in front of a computer finishing a project, meeting a deadline or cramming for a test.

For weary travelers, overworked employees or stressed students, Lisa Trivell has a quick, but rewarding solution: seated yoga. Trivell, a local yoga instructor, has developed a series of easy postures which can be practiced from a chair and lessen the discomforts of air travel or extended chair sitting. Her technique, she assures, will help those venturing away from home this holiday season or furiously wrapping up work in the office before winter vacation.

Trivell has worked as a masseuse and yoga practitioner for the past 20 years, dividing her time and business between New York City and the South Fork. She penned a series of instructional books, titled “I Can’t Believe It’s Yoga,” which focused on different groups like pregnant women or beginners.

Trivell said she developed the seated yoga technique in response to minor ailments her clients were suffering.

“People basically don’t stretch enough or take time to breathe. With everyone being on the computer so much right now, people experience eye strain, back pain and bad posture,” Trivell explained in an interview.

On being seated for long periods of time and working at a computer, Trivell added, “It affects people on a physical level. They get headaches, are tired and sluggish and aren’t feeling inspired. I developed the technique from these needs. Being a yogi, I see how a physical, mental and creative person needs a workout that enlivens them and which they can practice wherever they are.”

Through a mixture of personal and professional trials, Trivell created a method she has since been hired to teach to employees at major corporations including the NBC and Oxygen television networks. A 20-minute version of her seat yoga technique includes breathing exercise, self massage on acupuncture points and a guided relaxation, while an amended eight-minute set focuses on stretching. (Trivell also instructs workshops on her method and both versions of these seated exercises are available on DVD.)

As part of her program, Trivell places much emphasis on posture. She encourages the desk or plane bound practitioner to sit in what she describes as a yogic manner. This posture requires the sitter to shift their weight from their tailbone, or the base of their spine, to their sit bones. The shoulders are pulled back. The back is pulled in instead of slumped over and the stomach muscles are engaged. Trivell pointed out that this seated position strengthens the back while also opening the chest. Although Trivell is reluctant to divulge all the positions in her technique she also suggested neck rolls, arm lifts and, most importantly she said, focusing on one’s breath.

Trivell emphasizes that her method is accessible to all.

“I think the general population is intimidated by yoga because it is physically challenging,” Trivell remarked. “Here, I am giving people a technique that they can practice to relieve stress and increase mobility and they don’t have to be an advanced yogi.”

During these holidays, when you are boarding a plane to visit family or swamped with work at your desk, Trivell reminds travelers and workers to stretch a little and make sure to breathe.

To watch a two minute demonstration of seated yoga visit Lisa Trivell’s website at For more information on seated yoga, to book Trivell for a workshop or appointment, or to purchase a DVD call (917) 923-5504 or email

Three Quick Tips

Breath of Fire

Take a full breath and allow the stomach to come on the exhale and out on the inhale. You take short puffs of breath in the lower abdomen. As you exhale you pull your tummy in. It is invigorating and relieves stress.

Seated Cat

You arch and then round your back. It stretches and helps tone your back which balances your nervous system.

Neck Rolls

Roll your neck around slowly. Inhale as you go back and exhale as you go forward. Do it three times around. It will release tension in your neck and shoulders. It will help relieve a headache and improve your eyesight.