One of the perks of working from home is having the option to do a little yoga at your desk. Yoga can make a huge difference in your daily routine. This is because yoga has the potential to help you improve the quality and efficiency of your daily duties.
Even if you can’t leave your office, there are little stretches and movements you can do to alleviate stiffness and stagnation. Practicing a little yoga throughout the day, even if it’s just at your desk, will give your mind a moment to recharge. Plus, it will boost your overall energy. As a result, when you perform your job-related tasks, you’ll have more stamina and increased mental clarity too.
In the sections ahead, we’ll take a look at a few different yoga poses, each one is meant to target frequent problem areas in the body.
The Benefits of Practicing Yoga at Your Desk
There are so many benefits to regularly practicing yoga. As you take time to do this for yourself, you’ll witness many substantial and positive improvements to your workday.
We tend to store stress in our muscles and tissues. For instance, stress often manifests in the body as inflammation, stiffness, and even chronic illness. To remedy all of this, yoga aids in stress management by facilitating relaxation and more restful sleep.
Therefore, as you do yoga at your desk you will find yourself being more mindful and focused. Yoga also has the power to improve your mood and an overall feeling of well-being too. One of the ways it does this is by increasing your levels of serotonin. This in turn can provide relief from depression and lessen the impact of stress.
As with any physical activity, yoga causes your body to release endorphins. In other words, you’ll gain improved stamina, dissolved anxiety, and an increase in energy. Best of all, yoga will enable you to stave off fatigue and be more productive as you go about your day.
Health and Fitness
Yoga does wonders for your health too. It can increase muscle tone, coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Yoga also encourages circulation, blood flow, and is good for your heart.
Additional benefits of yoga include detoxification of the body, optimized adrenal gland function, and improved bone health, just to name a few. As you spend long hours working away at your desk, regular yoga practice can be one of the best solutions to help you stay on track.
Related: How to Feng Shui Your Home Office
Posture and Other Considerations
It’s important to note that throughout all of these exercises you should maintain good posture. Basically, do your best to sit up straight and hold your shoulders back. This will help you build core strength and maintain proper alignment. No slouching!
If you want to tone while you banish work stress, try adding some 2.5lb or 5lbs weights to your yoga routine. The great thing about yoga is it allows for a lot of flexibility. You get to decide what works best for your body.
Snap, Crackle, and Pop!
As you stretch you might hear a few cracks and pops. This is ok, so long as there is no accompanying pain. Oftentimes when we are stretching there can be what’s called joint cavitation. It’s completely normal for some of your joints to release pent-up pressure when gently stretching. Just move slowly, take your time, and be kind to your body.
You may be wondering how long to hold each yoga pose. Know there is no rule or standard that dictates how long one should hold a pose. Therefore, it’s really up to each individual person. Typically people hold a pose anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes.
Another way to measure your time is to count your breaths. You can count anywhere from 3 to 8 breaths or more, depending upon your personal preference. It’s entirely up to you and your comfort level. You can read more on this here.
After you’ve finished your chair workout, remember to drink lots of water. Anytime we exercise, stretch, and work out our muscles, it’s a good idea to hydrate ourselves. This extra water will help flush toxins and replenish our tissues. Avoid sugary drinks which can cause fatigue and an energy crash later on in the day.
Desk Yoga for Your Neck and Shoulders
Let’s start from the very top and work our way down. We’re going to release the weight of the world from our shoulders. As we go through these exercises, shrug off stress and remember what’s most important in your life.
Sitting up straight in your office chair, let your hands rest upon your thighs and have your feet firmly upon the ground. Next, move your shoulders back and then roll them forward in a circular motion. You can reverse direction by pushing your shoulders forward and then rolling them backward. This will do wonders for relieving pent-up tension in your shoulders and upper back.
Sit up straight in your chair. Bring your arms in front of you to form a 90-degree angle with your torso. Bring your left arm above your right arm and cross them. Lift up your right hand vertically and allow it to lock into your left hand. Your right hand should grab hold of your left thumb and lock your arms together. You can also do the reverse of this pose, as shown below. This will stretch your shoulders and upper back.
In your chair, sit up straight and have your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your chair armrests or simply on your thighs. Tilt your head to the left side laterally and allow all the slack and tension to diffuse. Repeat with the other side, by tilting your head to the right. Add to this stretch with a head roll. While your head is tilted to the right, let it fall forward, then tilt to the left, let it fall back toward your spine, and then finally complete the circle back to your right shoulder. Repeat, going clockwise and counterclockwise. This will loosen your neck muscles.
Work Your Arms to Reach for Wealth and Success
Shoulder Arm Presses
Raise your right arm and reach for the sky. Allow your arm to slowly lower to your right side laterally. Suspend it horizontally above the floor. Bring your right arm over to your left side, across your chest. Using Your left arm, hold your right arm in place. Your left hand should rest upon your right shoulder. Repeat this process with the left arm also. This will stretch and open up your shoulders and alleviate stiffness.
Arm Elbow Raises
Raise your left arm to reach for the ceiling. Reach for the stars. Imagine that you are easily achieving all of your work-related goals. Grab hold of them and make a fist. Bring your fist down behind your back and stretch those triceps. Your elbow should be pointed toward the ceiling while your fingers touch your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat with the other side.
Back Fist Bump
Put both hands into a fist. Put both fists behind your back and join them together. Allow your chest to expand forward slightly. If you are able, you can place your hands together into the prayer pose for added stretching behind your back. This will stretch your arms, wrists, and upper back.
Desk Yoga for Your Wrists and Hands
Reach for the Sky Wrist Rotation
Sit comfortably in your office chair. Let your back rest against your chair and simply raise your hands into the air. Raise them all the way. Let your arms be straightened and pretend you are reaching for the sky. The sky’s the limit for you! You are advancing in your career and you’re making things happen. Reach for success! Rotate your hands allowing for a full range of motion, both clockwise and counterclockwise.
Open both hands, straighten and close your fingers. Bring both hands together in a prayer posture, with your fingers pointing up. Bring your hands close to your chest and in front of your sternum. Keep your elbows elevated and level with your hands.
Yoga Core Boost
Seated Cat-Cow Stretches
Sit up straight and make sure your feet are firmly upon the floor. Place both hands on your knees and keep your arms straight. Pretend you are a cat arching its back. Allow your back to curve and stretch outward. Your neck and shoulders should also curve forward and down toward your legs.
Next, lift up your head and arch your spine forward to expand your chest. Your stomach should come forward slightly. Your shoulders and head can reach back. You should be able to look at the ceiling. This yoga activity will unlock a stiff neck and back, even as you sit at your desk.
For this yoga pose, stand up from your chair and face your desk. Take your right foot and lock it into the inner thigh of your left leg. Join your hands together over your head, as shown below. Do your best to balance without reaching out to grab the desk. Try not to lean back too much to compensate. Repeat with the other side.
Downward Dog Chair Stretch
Rise and turn to face your chair. Place your chair back about two feet and then bend forward toward your chair. Place your hands on either side of the seat. Allow your head to go between your arms toward the floor. Keep your arms and legs straight. Allow your back and leg muscles to stretch.
Sit comfortably in your office chair. You may want to scoot forward a few inches to give yourself room for a rotational twist. With your right hand, reach for the chair backing on your left side. Allow your left arm to grip the back of the chair for added support. Repeat with the other side.
Desk Yoga for Your Hips
Seated Pigeon Pose
Sit comfortably in your chair. Both feet should be flat on the floor. Raise your right foot and place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Gently lean forward for added stretching. Repeat this process with the other side. By the way, the perfect office chair for yoga exists. Find out more about it here.
Forward Chair Lunges
Stand about two feet away from a sturdy chair that will not roll. Place your left leg up onto your chair. Your leg should form a 90-degree angle. Slowly lunge forward into a long stretch. You can steady yourself by holding onto the back of the chair. Repeat with the right leg.
Side Chair Lunges
Place your chair beside you, on your right side. Stand two feet away from the chair and step onto it with your right leg. Slowly lean into a sideways lunge and hold. Repeat with your left leg.
Desk Yoga for Your Legs
If you have a laptop, you can take your work to the floor. You’ll be able to get into even more diverse yoga positions as you work. To do the lotus position, sit on the floor with your yoga mat or a small pillow. Fold your legs into a cross-legged style…much like a pretzel shape. Each foot should be placed upon the opposite thigh. This will stretch your hips, legs, and ankles.
Foot to Glutes Stretch
For this yoga pose, stand up and with your left hand support yourself upon the edge of your desk. Make sure your chair is pushed back so that you have room to move your legs. Bring your right heel up to your glute and hold it in place with your right hand. Allow your muscles to stretch for a few seconds. Place your foot back on the ground. Now for the other side. Place your right hand on the edge of your desk to support and stabilize the weight of your body. Lift up your left heel to touch your back glute. Hold in place with your left hand. Hold for a few moments. Release and place your foot back on the ground. This will stretch your thighs and ankles.
Desk Yoga for Your Ankles and Feet
Seated in your office chair, push yourself back away from your desk. You should have enough room to straighten both your legs. Lift both legs so that your body forms an L shape. Allow your legs to be about a foot apart. Rotate your feet both clockwise and counterclockwise. Do this a few times to release stiffness.
Stand at your desk with your feet flat upon the floor and about a foot apart. Lift yourself up so that you are standing on the balls of your feet and then lower to standing flat upon your feet again. Do this as many times as needed throughout the day.
It’s no surprise that yoga provides some remarkable gains for human health. Now that you work from home, you have a lot more flexibility and time to take better care of yourself.
You can now approach your workday as an opportunity to improve your life and health. While utilizing chair yoga at your desk, you can now get things done while simultaneously meeting some of your own fitness goals.
Follow our helpful tips to maximize your time, increase stamina, and boost your overall productivity.
To your health!