If You Have a Desk Job, Your Body Will Thank You For These 5 Desk Yoga Poses

Ashley Stern
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Studies show that people who sit or are sedentary for the majority of their working hours can increase risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
 
This is in addition to the strain, tension and stagnation caused to many areas of the body, from the spine to the hips, shoulders and even the brain.
 
Anyone who spends more than eight hours a day sitting, or otherwise sedentary is at risk for these negative health effects even if they exercise on a regular basis. But most of us can’t just leave our desk jobs for a more health-friendly alternative.
 
So what can we do about it? We can do some desk yoga . . . at the office!
 
A good rule of thumb is 50/10. For every 50 minutes of sitting, spend 10 minutes moving. Breaking up all that sitting with just a few minutes of movement can decrease all those risk factors and leave you feeling focused, refreshed, and healthy.
 

A good rule of thumb is 50/10. For every 50 minutes of sitting, spend 10 minutes moving.

 
You don’t have to change your clothes or break out the mat and go through a full sequence; just move around a bit! Take a little stroll around the office (or outside if you can get away), take the stairs instead of the elevator, and do desk yoga!
 
Doing yoga at your desk is a great way to move and stretch your body without having to distract your coworkers or leave the office. The best part about desk yoga is that it doesn’t take a lot of time, you don’t have to change first, and you can do it discreetly.
 
 

Here Are 5 Desk Yoga Poses You Can Practice Throughout Your Workday:

There are many yoga poses you can do at your desk or in your cubicle. Here are five basic desk yoga poses to get you started.
 

1. Seated Twist

This pose is a great way to start your desk yoga sesh. Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Place your right hand on the left armrest (or seat) of your chair, sit up straight and look over your left shoulder.
 
With each inhale sit up a little taller. With each exhale, go deeper into the twist if it feels safe (but no need to force yourself beyond your limit). Hold the position for a few breaths, then repeat on the opposite side. This pose will help remind you of your posture and is an inconspicuous way to move around a bit.
 

2. Mountain Pose

This pose is a great way to inconspicuously sneak a bit of yoga into your day. Whether you stand at your desk, in your cubicle, or even in the break room, nobody will notice you’re actually doing yoga! Keep all four corners of your feet planted on the floor and your hands at your sides as you stand tall with the crown of your head reaching skyward.
 
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable and focus on your breath. Let yourself become aware of your own body and your breathing – this is a great way to create peace in your hectic workday and also bring more awareness to your posture. Hold the position for as few or as many breaths as you like (or have time for).
 


 

3. Half Lotus

Sitting in your chair at your desk, gently draw your left ankle into your right hip crease. This is a deeper hip opener so work up to it if it’s not quite available to you. Keep your left foot flexed and relax the left knee. If this is too intense for you, just relax the bottom of the left foot on the inside of the right thigh.
 
Stay here for five deep breaths and then switch sides. This hip opener is a great way to counteract the tension and tightness that builds up in the hip joints after long periods of time sitting – the perfect desk yoga pose!
 

4. Eagle Pose (Legs Optional):

Doing just the Eagle arms is a discreetly modified version that can be done seated to stretch your upper back and shoulders. Sitting (or standing) upright with your feet planted firmly on the ground, cross your right arm over your left, bend your elbows and bring your palms to touch in front of your face.
 
Raise your arms in front of your face to feel a stretch in your shoulders. Repeat the pose with your left arm over your right (and left leg over your right if you include the legs). Repeat on side two, remember to breathe and enjoy this delicious shoulder opener!
 

5. Forward Fold

Forward Fold is a simple yet amazingly effective pose to counteract all the negative effects of sitting long term. If you can, stand up at your desk and hold onto the edge with both hands shoulder distance apart. Gently let your chest hang parallel towards the floor and enjoy that stretch into your arms, shoulders and chest. When you’re ready, release the hands and fold forward.
 
Don’t want to get up from your chair? Stay seated and spread your knees a bit wider than hip-distance apart. From there, fold your torso forward towards the floor (maybe your hands touch down, otherwise let them hang or grab your calves/ankles).
 
Whichever variation you choose, let your head hang heavy (releasing tension in the head and neck) and enjoy the fresh blood flow to the brain – you will feel energized and refreshed after hanging here for several breaths.
 
 

Desk Yoga Can Make a World of Difference For Your Body – And Your Mind

Desk yoga has your back . . . and your entire mind and body! Not only does a regular yoga practice provide immediate relief to tight and sore muscles; it also strengthens the core and improves posture.
 
By sitting up straighter and strengthening those important core muscles, back pain and other negative effects from sitting can be stopped before they even start.
 
Incorporating desk yoga into your workday is an excellent way to bring your yoga practice to work. Your body and your mind will thank you for it. Do you do yoga at work? Share your favorite poses, tips, and tricks in the comments below!

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Ashley Stern

A Wisconsinite at heart, Ashley is currently a student working on her masters in creative writing in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s a writer, a reader, traveler, a nerd, and a lover of life. Ashley is new to yoga and developing her practice from her student flat. She drinks a lot of tea and even more coffee. She’s a dog person, wears lots of purple, and believes in Laini Taylor’s wise words, “Cake as a way of life.”

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