Desk yoga stretch

Five Simple Desk Yoga Stretches

Numerous studies have shown over the years that lack of movement, poor posture or staying in the same position for too long not only causes physical aches in the body (particularly in the neck, shoulders and back), but can contribute to potential health issues such as obesity or musculoskeletal disorders.

The practise of yoga is said to come with many health benefits that are backed with evidence – both physical and mental. It can help reduce stress, increases blood flow over the body, promotes relaxation and improves flexibility and balance.

Whilst you won’t be able to roll out your mat on your office floor and start doing downward dogs (unless you want to confuse your colleagues and get strange stares), you can still do yoga at your desk very simply. 

Here are some of our favourite twists, turns and bends:

Seated Twist

  • Start off with taking yourself out of a slouch and straighten your spine
  • Inhale both of your arms up to the sky, reaching up tall, then exhale slowly down as you twist towards the left
  • Your left hand should be placed on the back of your chair, and your right hand either on your desk or on your lap
  • Breathe in deeply for at least 3 breaths before reaching the arms up once again to switch to the other side
  • This pose can really help improve posture and stretch your upper and lower back

Seated Pigeon Pose

  • Start off with your legs firmly on the floor and lift your right leg up so it folds onto the top of the left thigh (your ankle should touch your left knee at a 90 degree angle)
  • Gently bend forward from your hips, and you should feel a nice stretch in your glutes. Come forward even more if you want to intensify the stretch
  • Keep the upper back lifted and breathe deeply for a couple of breaths
  • When you’re ready, slowly lift yourself up and gently lower your leg down, and switch sides
  • This pose is a great hip opener and can relieve lower back pressure

Eagle Pose

  • Sit up with your spine straight and start by crossing one arm under your opposite arm with the palms coming together (don’t worry if they don’t quite reach! Listen to your body and be gentle)
  • Keep those arms lifted as you sit up straight, and you should feel the stretch in your shoulders
  • You can slowly bring your chin to your chest for a light neck stretch if it feels good
  • Breathe deeply for a few breaths before slowly unwinding your arms and switching sides
  • Optional: You can also twist your legs the same way you are with your arms for a more intense stretch
  • This pose is great for loosening the upper body, particularly the shoulders

Seated Crescent Moon

  • Sit up with your spine straight and as you inhale, reach both arms up overhead and press the palms together. As you exhale, slowly reach both arms overhead towards the left, keeping the chest lifted and creating as much length as you can in your side body
  • Breathe deeply for a couple of breaths and repeat by coming up to the middle and lowering down to the right side
  • A variation of this pose is to lift only one arm up to the sky as you inhale. As you slowly exhale, reach the arm overhead to your left and use the other hand to hold onto the side of your chair. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck. Simply release your hand onto your lap if it gets too intense
  • This pose provides a great stretch to your spine and your sides, especially if you have been slouching all day

Ragdoll Pose

  • Let yourself go in this pose completely – it’s more of a passive pose compared to the others
  • Start by standing and reach the arms up to the sky as you inhale, as you exhale, fold down and either let your arms hang loose, or interlock your arms at the elbows. Whatever feels best.
  • Keep the spine elongated with your feet firm on the floor as you breathe deeply
  • Your legs do not have to be straight here if that is too intense for you. You can also gently sway your arms from side to side for a side body stretch
  • This pose is great for stretching the hamstrings and lower back

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