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  • Writer's pictureshannonkyeager

10 Yoga Poses You Can Do at Your Desk

This yoga routine can be done in under 15 minutes to relieve tension and get your blood flowing.

Picture a week of sitting in an office chair, typing at a computer, lounging on the couch and staring down at a phone – sound familiar? It does to me. At the end of the week, my neck and shoulder muscles are stiff and my lower back and hips ache. Unfortunately, I hear all too often from my yoga students that they experience this as well.

This is so common in fact, that the term “tech neck” was created. It refers to neck discomfort and pain from the continuous strain to the muscles, ligaments and tissues from the head tilting forward and down.

To help alleviate tension in the neck, shoulders, lower back and hips, I put together a short yoga routine that you can do at your desk (or even at the airport). Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.

You can read more about how to do each movement below.

1. Shoulder shrugs

  • Sit up tall on the chair and feel your sits bones firmly rooted into the seat

  • Feel your feet on the ground

  • Take a deep inhale and shrug the shoulders up toward your ears

  • Open your mouth and exhale with a “ha” sound. As you exhale, drop the shoulders down away from the ears

  • Repeat

2. Neck stretch

  • Reach your right arm up and wrap it around the head. Gently guide your head toward the right

  • If you want to deepen the stretch, extend your left arm, tent the fingertips and lower the arm to an angle

  • Release your head

  • Repeat on the left side

3. Clasp hands behind back

  • Bring your arms behind your back

  • Draw your shoulder blades together and clasp your hands

  • If the clasp is uncomfortable, you can grab hold of a towel or strap behind your back

  • Roll your shoulders down and open up through your chest

4. Seated cat/cow

  • Place your hands on your knees

  • Take an inhale and arch your spine, lifting up from your chest

  • Exhale and slowly round your spine, dropping your chin to your chest

  • Repeat three times

5. Seated twist

  • Sit up tall

  • Place your right hand on your left knee

  • Take an inhale and reach your left arm up

  • As you exhale, begin twisting to the left from the mid-part of the spine. Avoid twisting from the lower back

  • The left arm can rest on the back of the chair

  • Continue breathing for three more rounds

  • Come back to center

  • Repeat on the other side

6. Wrist stretches

  • Extend your right arm out with your palm face up

  • Use your left hand to gently guide your right fingers toward the ground, stretching the underside of your right forearm

  • Repeat on the left arm

  • Extend your right arm out - this time with your palm face down

  • Use your left hand to gently guide the right fingers toward the ground, stretching the top of your right forearm

  • Repeat on the left arm

7. Hug knee to chest and seated figure 4

  • Lift your right leg and gently hug your knee into your chest

  • Move your right ankle in circles a few times. Then switch directions

  • Cross your right leg over your left leg, making a figure 4

  • Flex your right foot

  • Place your hands on the sides of the chair

  • If you want to deepen the stretch, begin to fold forward from the hips. Keep your spine straight and keep your neck in line with your spine

  • Come up and uncross your leg

  • Repeat on the other side

8. Standing quad stretch

  • Stand up and walk to the back of your chair

  • Stand hip distance apart and place your hands on the back of the chair for support

  • Shift your weight into your left leg

  • Keep your thighs parallel and your hips facing forward

  • Bend your right knee and move your heel toward your glute

  • If you want to deepen the stretch, grab your right ankle with your right hand and gently guide the heel closer

  • If you want to test your balance, extend your left arm up

  • Release and repeat on the other side

9. Calf raises

  • Place both hands on the back of the chair

  • Stand hip distance apart

  • As you inhale, lift the heels up off the ground

  • As you exhale, lower them back down

  • Repeat 8-10 times

10. Chest opener

  • Place both hands on the back of the chair

  • Step a couple of feet away from the back of the chair

  • Hinge forward and melt your chest down between your hands until you are making an “L shape” between the chair and the ground

  • Hold for several breaths

  • Release and come up

If you don’t have enough time to do the full routine, make sure to get up and move every hour for at least two minutes. This will help keep the fascia (connective tissue) flexible and smooth.

Now that you’ve moved your body and gotten the blood flowing, how do you feel? Leave me a comment below!

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