5 Desk Yoga Poses to Reset Your Working Day
We walk you through the benefits of desk yoga both physically and mentally, as well as show you 5 simple poses you can practice right now, and take away to include in your day-to-day routine.
Breathe in…. Breathe out….
Hi 👋 I’m Anna, Lifecycle Marketing Manager here at Whereby. I’m also a qualified yoga teacher and would love for you to take 5 minutes out of your day to discover the wonderful world of desk yoga 🧘♀️
I’ll walk you through the benefits both physically and mentally, as well as show you 5 simple poses you can practice right now, and take away to include in your day-to-day routine.
What is desk yoga?
Basically what it says on the tin! Desk yoga consists of movements, positions and stretches that can be done while sitting at your desk. It can be performed easily while you’re working and used to reset your body and mind. Whether you’ve just finished a video meeting, are about to tackle a difficult task or just need to take a quick break to refocus, desk yoga can be a great way to get energized both mentally and physically.
What are the benefits of desk yoga?
Many of the benefits of desk yoga are the same as regular yoga, with the added bonus of being able to do it right from your desk chair. No yoga mat required here!
Improved posture- Sitting in one position all day can be really bad for your back and hips, particularly if you have a tendency to slouch or sit with your legs crossed! Just a few minutes of desk yoga can help you be mindful of your body position and alignment. This promotes good posture throughout the day and helps avoid longer term health issues.
Reduced stress and anxiety- We all have moments when work gets on top of us or something gets under our skin (if you don’t, lucky you!). It’s totally normal! Performing a few yoga moves or breathing exercises can help you to stay calm and take a moment. When you feel yourself getting tense while battling with excel formulas or after a difficult conversation, take 5 minutes.
Increased flexibility and mobility- Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day. On top of making sure you take regular breaks to go for a walk and move around, fitting in a few desk yoga poses each hour helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back, neck, shoulders and hips.
Improved concentration and focus- Yoga helps you to bring your awareness back to the present moment and reduce distractions.
Relief from eye strain & headaches- If you spend a lot of time staring at a computer, your eye health can really suffer long term. Any kind of screen break will help with this but with all its other added benefits, building desk yoga into your daily practise is a great addition!
How do I use yoga in my daily practices?
Yoga has been a fond part of my life for the past five years. What started with a physical practice that helped me when I was going through a challenging time became a big part of my everyday life, and I discovered that there's so much more to yoga than the physical “asana” practice. To me, yoga is about nurturing the connection with myself, tuning into my physical, mental, and emotional state, and giving me what I need at that moment. It's about creating balance in my life, being in the moment, and not worrying too much about the past and future.
But what does this look like in my everyday life?
I love starting my mornings slowly and taking some time for myself. I make my matcha, light candles, sit down, and journal – What am I grateful for in my life? What will make today great? What am I affirming for myself today? – followed by a meditation to start the day with clarity and focus. If the Amsterdam weather allows for it, I like to take a break to walk outside at some point in the day. After work, I usually head to my favorite Yoga studio for an energizing Vinyasa class or a calming Yin class.
Five easy desk yoga poses to try right now
Put down that coffee cup, time to do some desk yoga! Try these out as you read through the rest of this post and then build these into your daily routine. No excuses, they only take a few minutes…
1. Gentle shoulder rolls and neck stretches
We’re starting gently by warming up our necks and shoulders. Sit up straight on a chair. Roll your shoulders up to your ears and back down. Repeat three more times. Then change direction. To stretch your neck, bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
2. Seated cat & cow
Next, we bring some movement into our spine with a seated cat and cow variation. Reach your arms above your head. Interlace your fingers. Open your chest with your inhale, arch your spine, and maybe look up. With your exhale, round your spine, draw the chin toward the chest. Repeat a few times and follow the rhythm of your breath.
3. Seated Twist
Seated twists are a great way to release tension from your (lower) back. Sit straight on a chair and distribute your weight evenly into your seat bones. Inhale here. Twist to the left side with your exhale. Your left hand can rest on your left thigh, and the right hand may reach toward the back of your chair. If it feels ok for your neck, you can look towards the wall behind you to bring the twist to the upper part of your spine. Repeat on the other side.
4. Seated Side Stretch
Side stretches are a great way to improve spinal mobility and stretch the obliques, lats, and shoulders. Sit up straight on your chair. Reach your arms over your head and interlace your fingers except for your index finger. Inhale to lengthen, and bend to the left side with your exhale. Hold for 5-10 seconds - you should feel a nice stretch in the right side body. Repeat on the other side.
5. Seated Warrior Two
After focusing on our upper body with the previous exercises, we’ll end the flow by giving some attention to our hips and inner thighs. Sit on the edge of the chair and angle your right knee and foot to the side as much as possible. Stretch the left leg off the side of the chair. Lengthen the spine and neck. Keep your shoulders soft and send the gaze in the direction your right knee is pointing. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the other side